The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also known as CMS, has announced a number of revisions to its current system of rating nursing homes throughout the country. Nearly 1.5 million people visit the CMS website every year to access information on prospective nursing homes and use this information to inform their decision on which nursing home is best for their loved one.
The Five-Star Quality Rating System rankings are based on a star rating system, with five stars being the highest possible rating and one star being the lowest. In addition to an overall star rating, each nursing home receives a star rating in the categories of Health Inspections, Staffing, and Quality Measures.
The system has long been criticized by the fact that much of the information in the ratings is self-reported from the nursing homes themselves. It’s not impossible that a nursing home may give false information in order to obtain a higher rating that it should merit. This in turn results in consumers not getting the information they need in order to make an informed decision when choosing a nursing home.
The following information is from the CMS website, and chronicles the revisions and the effects they will have on nursing home ratings:
We have made 3 significant improvements to the Five Star Nursing Home Quality Rating System:
- Incorporated the 2 nursing home quality measures for antipsychotic use into the Quality Measure Rating.
- Increased the number of points necessary to earn a Quality Measure Star Rating of 2 or more stars.
- Changed the scoring method for the Staffing star rating. Nursing homes must earn a 4-star rating on either the RN or total Staffing rating to achieve an overall Staffing rating of 4-stars.
Many nursing homes will see a lower quality measure rating as a result of these changes, even though the underlying QM data may not have changed. Because of these changes, it is not appropriate to compare a facility’s QM ratings that appear in February with those that appeared in earlier months.
You can learn how CMS calculates its nursing home ratings here.