Choosing a nursing home for one’s self or family members is a difficult decision. Individuals and families place a great deal of trust in facilities to care for themselves or their loved ones when they are most vulnerable. Knowing what questions to ask and what to look for can feel overwhelming for these consumers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a five-star rating system designed to help consolidate relevant information and help patients and their families make informed decisions.
CMS’s Nursing Home Comparison
Consumers can search nursing homes and view ratings on CMS’s easy to use Nursing Home Compare website. The site allows consumers to easily search for nursing homes by geographic scope or to pull up results for a nursing facility by name. The results show the overall rating of the facility as well as ratings for four different categories: health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Of course, higher ratings result in higher consumer perception of the facility which in turn translates into more patients and higher revenue.
Changes to CMS’s Rating System
On February 13, 2015, CMS revealed upcoming changes to its rating system to providers with release to the public scheduled for February 20, 2015. The changes to the system will be effective immediately, so nursing facility owners and operators will need to carefully review changes to the rating system and make changes as appropriate to regain or keep from losing quality rating stars.
It is anticipated that the rankings will be more stringent than the current system under which approximately 42% of facilities have a five-star rating, though how many facilities will have their rating reduced is not yet clear. Healthcare providers and AHCA have expressed their legitimate concerns that this new rating system will give the false impression to consumers that quality of care in nursing homes has declined.
Among the changes will be the addition of two new rating metrics based on long-stay and short-stay antipsychotics. Changes to how staffing data is compiled, reviewed, and scored will also be implemented. While it is likely to take facilities some time to adjust to the new system, don’t get to used to it because CMS is already planning another overhaul of the Nursing Home Compare system for next year.
As always, the rating system is just one factor that consumers should (and do) use when evaluating a prospective nursing home, and even CMS acknowledges “[t]here is no substitute for visiting the nursing home and consulting with community resources.” Thus, owners and operators should continue to place emphasis on marketing a facility’s highlights during facility tours to prospective residents.
Financing Nursing Home Rehabilitation
To improve or maintain ratings, some facilities may find themselves in need of substantial rehabilitation. Cambridge Realty Capital has multiple financing options for facilities in this position, contact us today to talk about how your programs may fit your needs.