New Nursing Home Compare Ratings Are Great For Healthcare Consumers

For those looking for a nursing home, Medicare.gov has a great service.  It’s called Nursing Home Compare and it rates local nursing homes by using a five start system. It uses several criteria to determine the rating including claims and inspection data.  Now the system is adding some new criteria to the ratings.  Outcomes.

The Affordable Care Act has forced all providers in the healthcare system to focus on outcomes but until now only hospitals have gotten penalized for not performing well. Now nursing homes will be scrutinized for one patient outcome in particular.

Re-Admissions

Re-admissions have been identified as the prime indicator of poor healthcare outcomes in recent years and have been the focus of The Centers for Medicare and Medicare in their quest to reform healthcare. Re-admissions are patients who have been admitted to the hospital and nursing home within 30 days of their last discharge.  CMS believes that if a re-admission becomes necessary it is because:

  1. The patient was not completely stable and required a return trip
  2. The discharging hospital did not do enough to set up a support system that would prevent the patient from readmitting.

Focus Means Better Service

The second point is why this focus on re-admissions is great for healthcare consumers especially from nursing homes.  It finally forces nursing homes to strongly consider the environment in which a patient is discharging and the challenges it presents.  The high quality nursing homes already do this but now all nursing homes will have to consider whether a patient is ready for discharge based on the health or the patient rather than the Medicare/insurance coverage clock.

READ RELATED POST: Today’s Nursing Homes

The focus on re-admissions and outcomes has already made a significant difference in the hospital setting. Some patients with chronic illness have a community liaison assigned to them upon discharge to offer support and guidance after a stay at the hospital.  Home care companies are also increasing contact with their patients to prevent unexpected trips to the hospital. Similar programs are being developed for nursing homes and their patients.

All in all the added criteria to Nursing Home Compare is a good thing for healthcare consumers. Visit Medicare.gov to check out your local nursing home ratings.

About Tony Fischer

As an advocate for elders and their families, Tony has experience in the entire healthcare continuum. He has worked in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, hospice, and non-profits. His vast and unique experience led him to become a consultant that helps clients navigate the senior healthcare system. Tony also works hand and hand with healthcare providers to improve and streamline customer service. The company he founded with his wife Lori, Elder Advocacy Group Inc, advocates for seniors and senior health issues. They do this through the innovative concepts of Life Care Planning and Elder Care Coordination. Through these concepts Tony is able to help elders and their families plan to age successfully on their terms by protecting their right to choose the healthcare services they want provided in the place they want it. Tony shares his talents with other senior advocacy groups like the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council where he advises a non-profit serving seniors in Wayne County, Michigan. He also produces FREE online content for seniors and their families