Chief Medical Officer, Kindred Nursing Centers

Kindred Healthcare Executive Director Shelly Szarek-Skodny, Director of Clinical Operations Leslie Vajner and local Medical Director Dr. Michael Felver  from Cleveland will be giving an exciting presentation at American Medical Directors Association or AMDA this year on the nuts and bolts of how to set up a Joint Quality Committee and improve communication between local SNFs and acute care hospitals. Entitled “Operational Success Through Partnership with Acute Care Providers: A Guide for Initiating Joint Quality Committees,” the presentation is on Saturday, March 10th at 4pm. The presentation will highlight key steps required to successfully work with other large organizations and providers in a local market. Highlights include:

  • Establishing mutual objectives
  • Educating local physicians about the process
  • Identifying competencies needed across settings (for providers and staff)
  • Establishing shared quality and operating measures
  • Working on secure IT linkages/solutions for providers and organization
[slideshare id=11911264&doc=successthroughrelationshipamdapresentation022012-120307153026-phpapp02] You can download the presentation from AMDA here.


Shelly Szarek-Skodny, Executive DirectorShelly Szarek-Skodny, Executive Director


Szarek-Skodny says creating a presentation about their process grew organically out of their work together over the past year.

“When I joined the organization I started going to the Joint Quality Committee meetings that were going on between The Cleveland Clinic and the LTACH here. Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation – The Greens was gradually pulled into those conversations. One day Leslie and Dr. Felver and I started brainstorming about how to share our success with other organizations. We said, why don’t we go to AMDA and try to get on their agenda and make a presentation?”

But they only had a month to create the presentation as the deadline for submission approached. “Ideas are great but you have to deliver,” says Szarek-Skodny. Two of the crucial pieces of making a cross-organizational meeting successful are data transparency and what they call ‘full discernment’ which is a fancy way of saying that everything is on the table for discussion. The successes and the failures.

“You have to be real and talk about everything. That's what we think the doctors want to hear. Everyone likes to hold back information, but we believe you have to have full discussions.”

As nursing centers across the country work to partner with local providers, tools designed to aid that process are desperately needed. Coming together around the issues, and around the table, is easier said than done. With a focus on quality outcomes, process improvement, and open communication, the group from Cleveland is already way ahead of the curve. I look forward to attending this interesting and timely presentation in San Antonio.