Thursday, August 28, 2014
I previously discussed the recent New York Times investigative report on Medicare’s deceiving five-star rating system for nursing home systems.
The real problem is that nursing homes are measuring the incorrect things; a wise consumer should view the five-star system as only one tool in the search for the best possible facility. While the five-star system may be a good reference, do not stop there. Visit facilities and look beyond the lobby. Talk to residents and their families. Talk to nurses and aides.
It is also important to keep in mind that Medicare is mostly rating safety rather than quality. Medicare says very little about whether a facility provides high-quality, person-centered care that responds to individual needs of its patients and residents.
The Medicare rating system may be best used as an initial screen to help which facilities to look at more closely. While it is easy for facilities to game numbers, Medicare is measuring the wrong things.
See Howard Gleckman, Looking Beyond Medicare’s Nursing Home Ratings: What to Know Before Picking a Facility, Forbes, Aug. 27, 2014.