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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS.




This notice announces the intention of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve the proposed information collection project: “Pre-test of an Assisted Living Consensus Instrument.” In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, AHRQ invites the public to comment on this proposed information collection.


Comments on this notice must be received by July 11, 2011.


Written comments should be submitted to: Doris Lefkowitz, Reports Clearance Officer, AHRQ, by e-mail at

Copies of the proposed collection plans, data collection instruments, and specific details on the estimated burden can be obtained from the AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer.

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Doris Lefkowitz, AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 427-1477, or by e-mail at

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Proposed Project

Pre-Test of an Assisted Living Consensus Instrument

Using a consensus-based process and in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL), AHRQ has developed a data collection tool that will collect uniform information about individual assisted living facilities (ALFs) in the United States to increase the value of healthcare for consumers by helping them make informed choices when selecting an ALF. Included in the development process were a voluntary committee of national representatives of Assisted Living Facilities, consumers, and researchers.

Assisted living (AL) is a relatively new long-term care option that currently serves approximately one million older and dependent Americans. Unlike skilled nursing facilities which are Federally regulated and relatively uniform from state to state, ALFs vary from state to state, as well as within each state, reflecting various core values that embrace consumer choice and provider diversity.

Most states mandate a set of basic services that an ALF must offer, such as meals and housekeeping. The upper limits of allowable services are also often prescribed. However, within the range of services required and allowed, ALFs in most states are given some Start Printed Page 27324latitude as to who they choose to serve and what services they choose to provide. Further, the choice of services is not always confined by geography; that is, given the widespread dispersion of families, potential AL residents may be looking to choose among assisted living properties in different states, thereby widening the choices available.

While some ALFs are equipped to serve a wide range of resident needs, it is more common that an assisted living property will address a particular “market niche.” There are many ways in which ALFs offer diversity—in the religious or cultural affiliations of its target market; in the house rules that influence expectations about dress and behavior in the dining room; in the admission and discharge criteria in place; as well as in the range of services provided. Major variation is found in the extent to which a particular ALF is able and willing to serve those with dementia. While most ALFs admit and retain residents with mild cognitive impairment, those without a specialized dementia program may have difficulty serving residents with common symptoms such as a lack of safety awareness, wandering, sleep disturbances and agitation.

To some extent, admission and discharge criteria are dictated by the laws and regulations of the state in which a particular ALF operates. Beyond this, ALFs have considerable latitude in assessing individuals whom they will admit and retain in their facilities.

In addition to the assessment of needed services in relation to the services that are available, the ability to pay for AL services is a critical factor for both the consumer and ALF decision-making about whether and when an individual moves into and out of a particular ALF. Approximately ten percent of AL residents receive subsidies through State Medicaid Waiver or State Plan programs, and fewer than three percent are covered by long-term care insurance. Thus, a substantial percentage of AL consumers use savings and other assets, including proceeds from the sale of their homes, to pay for their stay in an ALF. In choosing an ALF, consumers need to consider whether a particular facility is able to accept Medicaid or other third party payments, both now and in the future, should their assets become depleted.

This research has the following goals:

(1) Refine the data collection tool through pre-testing with a sample of ALFs; and

(2) Make the data collection tool publically available through the AHRQ Web site.

This study is being conducted by AHRQ through its contractor, Abt Associates Inc., pursuant to AHRQ's statutory authority to conduct and support research on healthcare and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness and value of healthcare services. 42 U.S.C. 299a(a)(1).

Method of Collection

To achieve the goals of this project the following data collection will be undertaken:

(1) Telephone verification. The purpose of the telephone verification is to ensure that the most current mailing address of each ALF is utilized for the survey pre-test, and to obtain the name of the Administrator or Executive Director of the ALF so the mailed pre-test survey can be addressed directly to that person; and

(2) Pre-test of the Assisted Living Provider Information Tool for Consumer Education. The data collection will include information on several topics of interest to consumers including services available in ALFs and costs of those services, criteria for moving into and out of an ALF, resident's rights, house rules, life safety features, staffing within the ALF, and the availability of dementia care services within the ALF. The purpose of the pre-test is to assess the utility of the data collection tool as well as the feasibility for its implementation.

The data that will be collected through this effort will be used to make final refinements to the Assisted Living Provider Information Tool for Consumer Education and to make adjustments to the recommended processes for implementing a similar data collection effort on a broader basis.

Estimated Annual Respondent Burden

Exhibit 1 shows the estimated annualized burden for the respondents' time to participate in this project. The telephone verification will be completed by 285 AL providers and will take approximately one minute to complete. The pre-test of the Assisted Living Provider Information Tool for Consumer Education will be completed by 191 ALFs and will require approximately 25 minutes to complete. The total annual burden is estimated to be 85 hours.

Exhibit 2 shows the estimated annualized cost burden associated with the respondents' time to participate in this project. The total annualized cost burden is estimated to be $3,576.

Exhibit 1—Estimated Annualized Burden Hours

Form nameNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentHours per responseTotal burden hours
Telephone verification28511/605

Exhibit 2—Estimated Annualized Cost Burden

Form nameNumber of respondentsTotal burden hoursAverage hourly wage rate*Total cost burden
Telephone verification2855$15.37$77
* Based upon the mean of the average wages reflected in the National Compensation Survey (May 2009) U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage categories used: phone verification—office and administrative support workers; pre-test—medical and health services managers in the United States.
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Estimated Annual Costs to the Federal Government

The total cost of this contract to the government is $424,000. The project extends over four years, but this request is for a one year OMB clearance. Exhibit 3 shows a breakdown of the total cost as well as the annualized cost.

Exhibit 3—Estimated Total and Annualized Cost

Cost componentTotal costAnnualized
Project Development$125,000$31,250
Data Collection Activities90,00022,500
Data Processing and Analysis30,0007,500
Reporting of results30,0007,500
Project Management164,55241,138
Total Costs439,552109,888

Request for Comments

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on AHRQ's information collection are requested with regard to any of the following: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of AHRQ healthcare research and healthcare information dissemination functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of AHRQ's estimate of burden (including hours and costs) of the proposed collection(s) of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information upon the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the Agency's subsequent request for OMB approval of the proposed information collection. All comments will become a matter of public record.

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Dated: April 22, 2011.

Carolyn M. Clancy,


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[FR Doc. 2011-11302 Filed 5-10-11; 8:45 am]