Mar 16, 2015

New nursing home rating system in effect; ratings drop

In my October 2014 post I told you that the federal government's Five Star Rating system for nursing home quality would be overhauled. The system assigns a facility an overall rating of 1 to 5, where 5 is the best possible score. The system has long had its critics, who claim it relied too heavily on self-reported data, resulting in overinflated positive scores. The newly introduced rating system incorporates additional, more objective measures, such as the incidence of bedsores and usage of anti-psychotic drugs.

The revised ratings were published in late February. As expected, under the new reporting criteria, a significant percentage of facilities have seen their scores fall. According to USA Today, 61% of facilities received lower ratings than they received the prior year.  However, Florida ranks sixth in the nation for nursing home quality overall. Sharing the top ten honors are Rhode Island (#1), New Hampshire (#2), Maine (#3), Vermont (#4), Delaware (#5), Hawaii (#7), Arizona (#8), Utah (#9) and North Dakota (#10). To see how the rank of each of Florida's nursing homes changed from the year before to now, click here.

Greater scrutiny and more objective ratings should spur meaningful improvement going forward, allowing families to find the best possible care for incapacitated loved ones. You can check out the new ratings for nursing homes in Florida and nationwide with the Nursing Home Compare tool.

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