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Nursing home quality improves under Five-Star Quality Rating System, study finds

July 11, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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A three-year analysis of the impact of Medicare’s Five-Star Quality Rating System conducted by Abt Associates, a global research firm, determined that the data the system presents on Nursing Home Compare has increased consumer awareness and improved facility performance.

This recent study shows the growth in the percentage of nursing homes that received a rating of four or five stars. All but three states (Hawaii, Montana, and Idaho) showed an increase in four-star or five-star nursing facilities.

Overall, there was an 8 percent increase in facilities earning four or five stars, with five states posting the greatest increase in five-star ratings: Delaware, nearly 23 percent; Tennessee, about 16 percent; Georgia, nearly 15 percent; Indiana and Oregon around 14 percent.

The study also analyzed and provided state ratings for three other performance domains: Health inspection, staffing and quality measures ratings.

“While we don’t know the extent to which the existence of the rating system itself has led to this improvement, most nursing home operators pay close attention to their ratings and seem to be motivated to improve them,” said Alan White, PhD, a principal associate at Abt Associates, said in a release. He worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop the system.

Although Nursing Home Compare serves as a guide for consumers and interested parties in selection of a nursing home for their loved ones, the final decision should be supplemented with site visits, references and additional research.

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