How Does That Nursing Home Grade?

Nursing Home Grades After Changes to the Federal Grading Scale

By the end of 2014, federal programs Medicare and Medicaid implemented a new grading scale to rate nursing home facilities. The new scale makes it harder for nursing homes to achieve more stars on a 5-star grading scale. With the latest report, more homes than ever before have received a one-star and many other homes dropped one, two, even three stars. Within the state of New York alone, only seven homes received the full five stars. The government made it harder to achieve four- and five-star quality homes in order to raise the level of care provided. The new ratings are said to be more accurate of the level of care provided. Overall, about half of the nursing homes throughout the nation received 4 or 5-star ratings.

Many nursing home representatives worry that consumers will interpret the lower ratings as a drop in quality care rather than a change in measurements. However, the primary objective is to compel homes to provide better services. This novel scaling will hopefully improve the quality of care provided to senior patients. The Medicare website describes the three biggest criteria changes to the five-star nursing home scales. The ratings are based on annual health inspection results, staffing levels, and performance on quality measures, like the percentage of residents who had urinary tract infections, or who reported pain. The website also goes into detail about what the inspectors will now be grading and lets you compare nursing homes amongst one another. However, when making a decision as to where to send yourself or a family member, it is important not to jump to any conclusions regarding the drastic drop in stars. Take in all of the information, and make a knowledgeable decision based on where you feel comfortable and satisfied with the level of care being provided to you or a family member. Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about the website or enrolling in a long-term care facility. We can help you get started on your own plan for your long-term care needs and make the best decision for you!


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