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Use this CMS page to explain five-star changes

February 24, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Want to explain to prospective residents and their families how changes in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) five-star quality rating may mean a lower rating for your facility even if quality hasn’t changed? Point them to, where CMS has posted information explaining the changes and how the ratings now are calculated for Nursing Home Compare.

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“Many nursing homes will see a lower quality measure rating as a result of these changes, even though the underlying QM [quality measure] data may not have changed,” the agency relays on the site. “Because of these changes, it is not appropriate to compare a facility's QM ratings that appear in February with those that have appeared in earlier months.”

The page’s address is

CMS first announced changes to its ratings in a Feb. 12 call to providers. Two measures related to antipsychotic medication use have been incorporated into the five-star ratings, the QM scale used for the quality measure dimension has been re-set and adjustments have been made to the staffing dimension.

When announcing the changes to the public Feb. 20, CMS said it expected that about two-thirds of nursing homes would see a drop in their QM rating, and about one-third would see a drop in their overall five-star rating. Organizations representing aging services providers expressed concern.

“Any time that nearly a third of an entire sector is impacted by a change of this magnitude, there will be confusion,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, said in a statement. “We’re not helping patients and their families get the information they can trust when the star rankings don’t match the quality care being delivered.”

Larry Minnix, president and CEO of LeadingAge, said in a statement that the announcement “does not change our view that the five-star rating system is a great idea, but [it] was hastily and prematurely implemented. CMS continues to tweak it without addressing or correcting underlying fundamental flaws.”

CMS also has posted a fact sheet about the revisions to the five-star rating system.

The Nursing Home Compare website launched in 1998, and CMS added the five-star ratings in 2008.

For more information:

3 changes coming to Nursing Home Compare

CMS announces Nursing Home Compare changes

2015 Business Outlook: Staffing