Positive Changes Underway for Rating Nursing Homes

Date: December 3, 2014

Recent news from Medicare shows promise in the improvement of its nursing home rating system. By The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, many changes will be made for better measures in the staffing and quality of nursing homes.

One of the major flaws with the rating system originally was that the staff and quality statistics were reported by the nursing home facility, allowing the nursing home to adjust the data in order to receive a better score. According to the information from this New York Times article, “In 2009, 37 percent of homes received four or five star rating. By 2013 nearly half did.”

With the new changes, staffing would now be verified through electronic data quarterly and double checked with the payroll. The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, was signed in September by President Obama to give 11 million dollars for the implementation of this electronic system to measure staffing. By allowing this electronic system to measure the staffing, it will give Medicare more concrete data and decrease the amount of manipulation from nursing homes.

For assessing the quality data, which the nursing home could also alter, this bill will now establish a nation auditing organization. Through a third party, Medicare will be able to receive an unbiased rating in the quality of the facility and therefore, a more accurate rating of the nursing home.

A major action being implemented through this bill, is that the percentage of antipsychotic drugs will be in consideration when measuring the quality of the nursing home. Many of the concerns with the rating system is it’s inaccuracy in care and quality due to the condition of the patients who take antipsychotic medications. A measure of the use of antipsychotic drugs can bring a better perspective into the patient population and the type of care the nursing home provides and therefore, a better measurement of its quality.

Another change is the amount of physical inspections that the government will make in a certain period fo time in nursing home facilities. Hospice facilities now must be checked and inspected once every three years. As the facilities will be checked more often it can ensure an more accurate rating on quality. Thus, the quality rating of nursing home can be further verified and rated properly.

Further plans for improvement include additional data on the percentages of readmittance and discharges in the community for measuring quality.

It seems that the improvements in the nursing home rating system are going in the right direction. The rating system becoming more accurate can help ensure a better decision when deciding where to place a loved one or making sure that they are receiving the care they need.

Attorney Sean McDonough has been a partner of Dougherty, Leventhal and Price for over twenty years. He practices in personal injury cases with an emphasis on nursing home abuse. If you suspect nursing home abuse, don’t wait until its too late. Call DLP and make an appointment with Attorney Sean McDonough today!

The information from the blog post can be found from the following link:

Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.