Medicare’s New Nursing Home Rating System

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2014 | Personal Injury

For years, children of aging parents have struggled to find nursing homes they know they can trust.

In part, that’s been because the only nationwide rating system — operated by the federal government — has depended largely on self-reported data. Too often, nursing homes would fudge their staffing levels or satisfaction statistics, rendering the five-star rating system less than credible.

New changes, however, are set to make a big difference in the way families search for the right home for their loved ones.

Understanding Medicare’s New Nursing Home Rating System

At The New York Times reports, Medicare recently announced a series of changes for its nursing home rating system, scheduled to take effect in January.

The new rules are specifically designed to answer the ongoing complaints about discrepancies in nursing homes’ self-reported data. The changes will make it more difficult for senior-care facilities to misrepresent themselves. In turn, each five-star rating should mean a little more than it used to.

Beginning in 2015, the rating system will adopt the following rules and procedures:

  • A new electronic system will require a quarterly e-report about current staffing levels.
  • These e-reports will be verified using payroll data, which is also required.
  • The percentage of residents given antipsychotic drugs will now become a factor in each home’s individual rating.
  • Medicare-administered auditing will aim to verify each home’s quality score.

Holding Nursing Homes Accountable

The Times notes that, until now, even notoriously problematic nursing homes have been able to earn five-star ratings using Medicare’s system. Happily, these new changes should help in holding nursing homes accountable.

At long last, families will have a reliable rating system when making the important decision about where to entrust a loved one’s care.

At Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, we believe in holding nursing homes accountable. If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a Florida nursing home that failed to uphold a high standard of care, we can help. Contact our office to find out more today.


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Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.