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Medicare Creates Five-Star Quality Ratings To Compare Nursing Homes

The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) has created a Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families, and caregivers search and compare nursing homes more easily and to help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions.

The site now features a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality 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 individuals who go onsite to the nursing home and follow a specific process to determine the extent to which a nursing home has met Medicare’s minimum quality requirements.  The most recent survey findings are weighted more than the prior two years.  More than 200,000 onsite reviews are used in the health inspection scoring nationally.
  • Staffing – The staffing rating has information about the number of hours of care on average provided to each resident each day by nursing staff.  This rating considers differences in the level of need of care of residents in different nursing homes.  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 needs were not as high.
  • Quality Measures (QMs) – The quality measure rating has information on 9 different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents – for example, the prevalence of pressure sores or changes to resident’s mobility.  This information is collected by the nursing home 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.

On the Web site people will be able to arrange the order of the nursing homes according to any of the three aspects above, as well as an overall quality rating based on those three sources of information.

To compare nursing homes or to get a rating go to the CMS website at:

When your loved one is in need of a Pennsylvania nursing home, you need to do your homework.  You can see citations the home you are considering has received in the past, on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.  You can find a link to the site on Schmidt Kramer’s website.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been injured by sub-standard care at a Central Pa nursing home, call a Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer at Schmidt Kramer.  Call us at (717) 888-8888 if you are local to Harrisburg, or call us toll-free at (717) 888-8888.

You may also want to download one of the free publications we offer on our website.