Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Medicare Releases Nursing Home Rating System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a rating system for comparing nursing homes throughout the United States. The ratings are searchable through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, through a Nursing Home Compare search engine. The ratings are based on three categories:

  • Health Inspections
  • Staffing
  • Quality

These three categories are each given an individual a star rating on a one to five scale. The ratings are then combined to create an overall ranking for each nursing home on a one to five star scale.

Rating San Diego Area Nursing Homes
A search of the database for nursing homes within a 25 mile radius of San Diego reveals that, out of the 59 nursing homes identified, 22 received overall ratings of four or five stars. An additional 19 nursing homes received three star ratings. The remaining 18 nursing homes received one or two stars.

San Diego area nursing homes are made up of 10 not-for-profit or government run nursing homes, with the remaining facilities being run for-profit. Overall, the for-profit nursing homes performed poorly compared with the not-for-profit or government run facilities. All of the nursing homes that received a one star rating are run for-profit. In addition, of those nursing homes receiving two stars, only one was a not-for-profit nursing home. USA Today reports that not-for-profit nursing homes received higher overall ratings than for-profit nursing homes under the rating system. As a result, the performance of San Diego for-profit nursing homes compared to not-for-profit nursing homes parallels the national results.

How to Use the Rating System
Those looking for a nursing home for themselves or a loved one should not rely solely on this new rating system. Instead, the ratings can provide a starting point to identify some possible facilities.

Choosing a nursing home in an area close to a person’s family and friends often improves the quality of an individual’s experience in a nursing home. With that in mind, the database can also be used to locate nursing homes in a specific area. You should always visit a nursing home to determine whether it will meet the resident’s needs and ensure that the facility provides the proper quality of care for each of its residents.

With complaints against California nursing homes to the California Department of Public Health increasing from 5,742 in 2004 to 6,950 in 2008, the importance of researching a nursing home continues to be an important part of ensuring proper elder care.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you have a question or comment, feel free to respond to this posting, but keep in mind your response will not be confidential. If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse, negligence, or neglect by a nursing home, contact a qualified elder law attorney to find out your legal rights and options. You can also contact me to discuss your matter confidentially.