Expect Updates to Nursing Home Compare & Five Star This Summer

On May 16, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and other stakeholders received a briefing from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and agency contractors, Abt Associates, regarding the upcoming changes to Nursing Home Compare and the Five Star Rating System.  AHCA Quality Cabinet Chair Mary Ousley, Survey/Regulatory Committee Chair Steve Biondi, and AHCA staff Dr. David Gifford, Peter Gruhn and Ruta Kadonoff participated in the meeting with CMS.

Upcoming changes to the Nursing Home Compare website that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to implement this summer include:

  • Posting of survey deficiency reports (2567 forms), beginning with surveys conducted during the 2011 calendar year.  CMS will be posting only the 2567s until electronic submission of Plans of Correction is implemented (anticipated for 2014), at which point we expect that information will be added;
  • Reporting on the new MDS 3.0-based quality measures, including two new measures for off-label use of antipsychotic drugs (long-stay prevalence and short-stay incidence);
  • Inclusion of ownership information; and
  • Reporting on physical therapist staffing levels.

Additional enhancements will be made in terms of the "look and feel" of the website.  CMS noted that future enhancements around the reporting on both consumer satisfaction and on special capabilities and services offered by facilities that would assist consumers in identifying facilities that can meet specialized needs are being explored. CMS provided no additional information as to a possible timeline for incorporating such reporting or data.

The Five Star Rating System will be modified this summer as well when CMS' new quality measures are posted and staffing calculations can be adjusted according to MDS 3.0 data. Transition to these revised measures and calculations is expected to only minimally impact the overall distribution of the star ratings. AHCA was pleased to hear CMS point out that the trends reflected by Five Star since the system debuted in 2008 shows overall improvement, with an increasing proportion of facilities receiving 4- and 5-star ratings and fewer numbers of facilities receiving 1-star ratings.

AHCA will share more information as CMS provides updates and details regarding the timeline for these changes. In the meantime, providers may preview reports using the agency's CASPER system.