Few Five-Star Stays in Nation’s Nursing Homes

Monday, December 22nd, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Last week CMS made good on its June 2008 promise to launch a star-based ranking system of America’s 15,800 nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. The initial evaluation revealed some quality gaps — nearly a quarter of facilities received only a one-star rating. Facilities are assigned one- to five-star ratings based on three key areas — health inspection surveys, staffing information and quality of care measures. The ratings are publicly available and will be updated monthly. A nursing home may not be the only long-term care choice, and the updated Web site also includes links to information for community-based alternatives to nursing homes.

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is a difficult and emotional decision. A facility’s star ranking is only one aspect of the evaluation process, along with a thorough site visit and discussions with nursing home staff, residents and residents’ families. We’re betting it won’t be long before CMS invites nursing home residents to rate their experiences the way hospital patients do via the Survey of Patients’ Hospital Experiences. Read about a recent study of HCAHPS data that links patient satisfaction to quality of care.

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