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CMS' five-star changes overdue, groups say

March 10, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Five groups advocating for residents of nursing homes say they “strongly support” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) announced changes to its five-star rating systems of the homes reported on its Nursing Home Compare website, calling the changes “overdue.”

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“Studies published over the past year have validated consumers’ concerns that quality of care remains a critical problem in nursing homes,” according to a letter released to the media by the National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, the Long Term Care Community Coalition, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. The reforms are necessary, the groups say, because:

  • If nursing homes previously received four or five stars for self-reported quality and staffing data, then their overall ratings could increase and “divert public attention from one or two stars [received] for health inspections that find serious risk and harm to residents.”
  • The government did not necessarily confirm the accuracy of all data submitted by nursing homes.
  • Inflated ratings are unfair to those nursing home operators and staff members who have been working to improve quality in their facilities, including eliminating the use of antipsychotic drugs, if they receive the same ratings as neighboring facilities that do not.

The changes to the five-star ratings, the groups maintain, are “the first steps to improve accuracy and increase fairness to residents, families, the public and good nursing home providers.”

Related content:

CMS announces Nursing Home Compare changes