Agency offers more info to compare nursing homes

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Six new quality measures have been added to the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website, intended to provide additional information based on federal data to aid families in choosing a long-term care facility for a loved one.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services historically has developed quality measures based on self-reported data from nursing homes. Now, three of the six new measures are based on Medicare claims data submitted by hospitals.

New quality measures based on hospital data include:

  • Percentage of short-stay residents who were successfully discharged to the community.
  • Percentage of short-stay residents who have had an outpatient emergency department visit.
  • Percentage of short-stay residents who were re-hospitalized after a nursing home admission.

New quality measures based on nursing home self-reporting data include:

  • Percentage of short-stay residents who achieved improvements in function.
  • Percentage of long-stay residents whose ability to move independently worsened.
  • Percentage of long-stay residents who received an anti-anxiety or hypnotic medication.

Short-stay measures, according to CMS, reflect care provided in a nursing home for less than 100 days. CMS soon will include five of the six measures in its nursing home ratings. The anti-anxiety or hypnotic medication is not being added at this time because appropriate nursing home benchmarks for use of the medications is not yet available. Nursing home ratings also are affected by health inspections and staffing levels.

CMS also offers consumer-oriented ratings for hospital and physician care, dialysis, home health, and a Medicare Plan Finder that Medicare carriers offer to help consumers compare health plans.

More information is available here.

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