The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a press release, giving detail to how it has strengthened the Five Star Quality Rating System for Nursing Homes on the Nursing Home Compare website to give families more precise and meaningful information on quality when they consider facilities for themselves or a loved one. The announcement also marks an important milestone to achieving the goal of implementing further improvements to the Five Star system in 2015, as the Administration announced last October.
Star ratings allow users to see important differences in quality among nursing homes to help them make better care decisions. CMS rates nursing homes on three categories: results from onsite inspections by trained surveyors, performance on certain quality measures, and levels of staffing. CMS uses these three categories to offer an overall star rating, but consumers can see and focus on any of the three individual categories.
Starting February 20th, nursing home star ratings will:
- Include use of antipsychotics in calculation of the star ratings. These medications are often used for diagnoses that do not warrant them. The two existing quality measures – for short stay and long stay patients – will now be part of the calculation for the quality measures star rating.
- Have improved calculations for staffing levels. Research indicates that staffing is important to overall quality in a nursing home.
- Reflect higher standards for nursing homes to achieve a high rating on the quality measure dimension on the website.
Since CMS standards for performance on quality measures are increasing, many nursing homes will see a decline in their quality measures star rating. By making this change, Nursing Home Compare will include more meaningful distinctions in performance for consumers and focus nursing homes on continuously improving care focused on residents, families, and their caregivers. About two thirds of nursing homes will see a decline in their quality measures rating and about one third of nursing homes will experience a decline in their Overall Five Star Rating.