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AACN Partners with Brookdale Senior Living to Advance the CNL Role

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN Partners with Brookdale Senior Living to Implement
CMMI Health Care Innovations Challenge Grant

Initiative Aims to Decrease Avoidable Hospitalizations for Older Adults
Through the Use of Clinical Nurse Leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2012 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) for awarding a $7.3 million Health Care Innovations Challenge grant to Brookdale Senior Living (BSL) to advance the Care Transitions Program. This visionary new initiative, which involves a partnership between BSL and the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, hinges on the use of Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs) to lower readmission rates at skilled nursing facilities in Texas and Florida.

“As experts in care coordination and quality improvement, Clinical Nurse Leaders are uniquely qualified to enhance patient outcomes across practice settings,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling, DNS, RN, FAAN. “AACN commends Brookdale Senior Living for its ground-breaking efforts to enhance the care of older adults and improve patient outcomes using CNLs.”

The Clinical Nurse Leader is a fast emerging nursing role developed by AACN in collaboration with leaders from education and practice to improve the quality of patient care and better prepare nurses to thrive in today’s healthcare system. These master’s-prepared clinicians put evidence-based practice into action to ensure that patients benefit from the latest innovations in care delivery. The CNL evaluates patient outcomes, identifies risk, coordinates care, and implements quality improvement strategies.

For the CMMI grant, AACN collaborated with Brookdale Senior Living and the University of North Texas Health Science Center on a proposal to expand and test BSL’s Care Transitions Program. The program’s goal is to prevent the progress of disease, thereby reducing complications, improving care, and reducing the rate of avoidable hospital admissions for older adults.  The BSL Care Transitions program is based on INTERACT (Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers), a series of  evidence-based tools developed by geriatrician Joseph Ouslander, MD, and colleagues for reducing avoidable readmissions for residents in skilled nursing facilities. The tool will be modified and applied in assisted and independent living facilities as well as home care settings. Expected savings over the three-year grant period are estimated at more than $9 million.

“The sooner a health issue can be identified, the sooner the intervention can be initiated, which improves the odds of a positive health outcome for our residents,” said Brookdale’s Chief Medical Officer Kevin O’Neil, MD “The key to quality in health care is consistency, and this tool has been instrumental in giving physicians a quality assessment of a resident’s health and preventing unnecessary hospitalizations.”

To support this initiative, AACN will work with BSL leadership to engage CNLs in redesigning care transition processes, evaluating care outcomes, and implementing quality improvement initiatives. The CNLs will also oversee the training of care transition managers in the long-term care settings. This grant will give the association an opportunity to evaluate the impact of CNLs on care coordination, recidivism, and care transitions as this role continues to evolve across settings.

For more information on the CMMI Health Care Innovation Awards, see


Brookdale Senior Living Inc. is a leading owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the United States. The company is committed to providing an exceptional living experience through properties that are designed, purpose-built and operated to provide the highest-quality service, care and living accommodations for residents. Currently the company operates independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers, with 646 communities in 35 states and the ability to serve over 67,000 residents. Brookdale is committed to providing exceptional living experiences within properties that are purpose-built, designed and operated to help residents live well while achieving an Optimum Life®. Brookdale Senior Living communities provide a daily experience of programs, services and care that are unique as a result of the collective talents and inspiration of the residents, their families, and its associates – demonstrating Brookdale’s promise of “Our People Make the Difference.” Brookdale is a publicly-traded company (NYSE: BKD). For more information, visit

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 700 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s and graduate degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. For more information, visit


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231