On March 5, CMS announced updates coming in April 2019 to Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Quality Rating System. Per CMS, these changes will strengthen the tool for consumers to compare quality between nursing homes. These updates are to advance CMS’s goal to improve accuracy and value and promote quality improvement in nursing homes.
April 2019 Changes:
- Lifting the freeze on the health inspection (HI) ratings. The HI ratings were frozen in February 2018 due to a new survey process put in place by CMS. In April 2019, all surveys will be on the same process. April 2019 will reflect the most up to date status of a facility’s compliance.
- Higher thresholds and evidence-based standard for nursing homes’ staffing levels.
- In April 2019, the threshold for the number of days without an RN onsite in a quarter, that triggers an automatic downgrade to one-star, will be reduced from seven days to four days.
- CMS is also making changes to the quality component on Nursing Home Compare that would improve identifying differences in quality among nursing homes, raise expectations for quality, and incentivize continuous quality improvement.
- Addition of long-stay hospitalization and emergency room transfers measures.
- Removal of duplicative and less meaningful measures.
- Establishing separate quality ratings for short-stay and long-stay residents.
- Revising the rating thresholds to better identify the differences in quality among nursing homes to make it easier for consumers to find the right information needed to make decisions.
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