How Accurate and Helpful is the CMS 5 Star Rating System When Choosing a Nursing Home?

by Gregory Chambery, Administrator

When a family is considering the need to partner with a nursing home for the care of a loved one it can be a frustrating and difficult process. One of the tools that has recently come on the scene is called the Five Star Quality Rating System. The Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) describes the rating system as follows: CMS created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and to help identify areas that you may want to ask questions about.

The Nursing Home Compare Web site features a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have a quality that is “much above the average” while nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have a quality that is “much below average”.

There is one Overall 5-star rating for each nursing home, and a separate rating for each of the following three sources of information:

  • Health Inspections – The health inspection rating contains information from the last 3 years of onsite inspections, including both standard surveys and any complaint surveys. This information is gathered by trained, objective inspectors who go onsite to the nursing home and follow a specific process to determine the extent to which a nursing home has met Medicaid and Medicare’s minimum quality requirements. The most recent survey findings are weighted more than the prior two years. More than 180,000 onsite reviews are used in the health inspection scoring nationally.
  • Staffing – The staffing rating has information about the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day by nursing staff. This rating considers differences in the levels of residents’ care needs in each nursing home. For example, a nursing home with residents who had more severe needs would be expected to have more nursing staff than a nursing home where the resident’s needs were not as high.
  • Quality Measures (QMs) – The quality measure rating has information on 11 different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents. The rating now includes information about nursing homes’ use of antipsychotic medications in both long-stay and short-stay residents. This information is collected by the nursing homes for all residents. The QMs offer information about how well nursing homes are caring for their residents’ physical and clinical needs. More than 12 million assessments of the conditions of nursing home residents are used in the Five-Star rating system.

Access the Five-Star Quality Rating System here.

If you look up Maplewood Nursing Home, you will see that we have a 4 star rating – above-average quality – in all categories. We are very proud of this achievement and thank all of our wonderful staff for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that our residents are receiving such high-quality care.

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