Medicare is changing the way it rates and reviews nursing homes in the United States. Until now, the popular five-star rating system, which thousands of families turn to when researching their options for senior care, has simply relied on the facilities’ self-reported and unverified data.
But The New York Times reports that a series of sweeping changes will kick in this January, aimed at adding greater objectivity to the ratings.
Among the new changes are the following:
- Nursing homes must now report their staffing electronically, once every quarter. The government can verify those reports using payroll records.
- A new auditing system will check in on nursing homes’ self-reported “quality measures,” which pertain to the individual care provided to each patient.
- The percentage of residents receiving antipsychotic medication will now play a part in the rating calculations.
The new rules come in response to outraged patients who insist that demonstrably negligent facilities still somehow managed to earn top ratings from Medicare. Now, it will be harder (though not impossible) for facilities to fudge their performance.
It’s a step in the right direction. Nursing home neglect and abuse is a real problem for elderly residents throughout Arizona. Families need to know that their loved ones are in caring, competent hands.
Making prudent decisions about senior living and care is a vital part of our Phoenix Elder Law practice. We’re dedicated to helping Phoenix families put the very best plans in place for themselves and their loved ones.
While there’s still ample room for improvement in the state of nursing homes across the country, we applaud Medicare for cracking down on what some have speculated could be rampant nursing home fraud.