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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Elder Care / Improvements On The Way For Nursing Home Rating System

Improvements On The Way For Nursing Home Rating System

The Obama administration recently announced efforts to improve the quality of care in the nation’s nursing homes and strengthen the reporting system by which consumers obtain information about them.


Through executives actions and the president signing into law the bipartisan Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014, the administration is seeking to strengthen Medicare’s widely-used Five Star Quality Rating System for Nursing Homes, also known as Nursing Home Compare, and streamline quality measures for nursing homes, home health agencies, and other post-acute care providers participating in Medicare.

“The Five Star Quality Rating System offers the most comprehensive overview of nursing home quality in the U.S., in an easy to understand format, based on data from onsite inspections conducted by trained, objective surveyors from state public health departments and (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); quality measures submitted by the nursing homes is used to calculate certain quality measures, such as the prevalence of pressure ulcers, use of restraints, and the extent of injurious falls; and information about the staffing levels in nursing homes,” according to the announcement from the White House Press Office. “While the onsite inspections form the core of the rating system, CMS has been concerned that the quality measures and information about staffing levels rely on self-reported data from nursing homes that have been difficult to verify.”

Among other things, the Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation Act, which takes effect in January, will require that staffing levels being reported by nursing homes can be verified through payroll records, the White House announcement stated.

In addition, the law will revise the scoring methodology for calculating a facility’s rating under the Five Star Quality Rating System.

“The Act will facilitate patients comparing outcomes across different care settings, supporting better choices and better outcomes for patients,” according to the Press Office. In addition, the IMPACT Act funds a key improvement to nursing home oversight, the collection of staffing data. Nursing and other staffing levels are closely correlated with quality in nursing homes and current data collection efforts have produced data of uneven reliability. The IMPACT Act also institutes more routine surveys of hospice providers, ensuring program standards are met for the benefit and safety of patients.”

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