The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ controversial Five-Star Quality Rating System, which rates the nation’s nursing homes, is in the news this week with CMS unveiling its revamped Nursing Home Compare website.
Since its introduction in 2008, the rating system has been maligned by LTC providers for its perceived faults and omissions. Among them: questions regarding the system’s influence on consumer decision making, the accuracy of the star rating as a representation of provider quality, an arbitrary bell curve comparison among states that skews results and the transparency of the star system itself.
CMS officials announced that the site has been updated to include additional data on surveyor inspection findings, existing quality measures, antipsychotic medication usage, and information about nursing home owners.
This additional information is a welcome feature for consumers and nursing home advocates and watchdogs. And while it remains a flawed system and we can expect future tweaks, the facilities that work hard to present a high quality, resident-focused operation need not fear public scrutiny.
As one nursing home administrator I spoke with a few months ago observed, the ratings process is based on very objective criteria which is hard to dispute. Either you get a good survey or you don’t. Either you have enough staff or you don’t. This administrator spoke from a position of confidence in her facility’s staff, management and operations.
What are your thoughts on the rating system and the revamped website? Do you find it highly flawed, fabulous or somewhere in between? Feel free to share, either by commenting here or shooting me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your feedback.