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Help Guide for Nursing Home Ratings – Three Steps to Begin (READ ME)

Three steps to help you use the Consumer Health Ratings guide for nursing home ratings:

1. Check the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare site, and compare the star ratings (and details) for the nursing homes you’re interested in.

2. Visit your state’s web site to see inspection reports and complaints on nursing homes in your county and county-wide averages.

3. Go to HealthInsight for national rankings of nursing homes. Do the reports consistently suggest this is a nursing home to use, or to avoid? See what options you have and plan to visit the facilities you’re interested in, before you decide.

Nursing Home Compare (all states) www.medicare.gov 2019 Editor's Pick

Free 5-star ratings from Nursing Home Compare for nursing homes that are Medicare or Medicaid certified and provide skilled nursing care. Quality ratings, nursing staffing and CNA hours per resident day, and results from survey inspection reports are updated with 2019 data. If you cannot find the nursing home you’re interested in, the facility might not accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. New feature (red “hand” icon) shows if the nursing home was cited for abuse. Federal fines are listed, but no details available. Check your state reports for additional information. Consumers can also ask the nursing facility to share their reports on resident and family satisfaction. Good nursing homes welcome your inquiry

HealthInsight: National Rankings for Nursing Homes (all states)

Find national rankings for nursing homes (all states) by HealthInsight. Overall composite nursing home quality ratings based on a summary of 15 quality measures on over 15,000 nursing homes in 2019. Health Insight, developed by Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico, used the national CMS measures and data to develop a composite ranking. Easier to use than the federal CMS website, but less detail. Must know the name of the facility. The database is not searchable by city. Updated July 2020.

CMS Public List of Nursing Homes with Serious Quality Problems – SFF (2020) Editor's Pick

CMS lists nursing homes in any state and District of Columbia that have a history of serious quality problems. These Special Focus Facilities (SFF) have been officially entered into the federal government’s SFF program to monitor care. Homes on the list may have a history of “yo-yo” compliance, with a good survey followed by substandard quality on the next, thus unable to sustain good care. Some nursing homes are listed as Showing Improvement or having graduated out of the program. In addition, last year, CMS added hundreds of nursing homes (7 pages) that are candidates for the SFF program, based on quality issues over the prior 3 years. Up to 30 nursing homes per state are on the Special Focus Facility Candidate list. Updated July 29, 2020.

Long Term Care Hospitals – Compare Quality Editor's Pick

Compare quality at long-term care hospitals for inpatient rehab in the US. Site is called Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Compare. These hospitals may also be referred to as long term acute care (LTAC) facilities. Compare 3 hospitals at one time, side by side, on quality measures for each hospital. Infections, complications, percent of staff that got their flu vaccination, effective care, and more. Graph view will show the actual performance results. Most data are from 2018 or 2019. Provided by Medicare.gov.

Nursing Home Case Numbers and Deaths from COVID-19 (AARP)

AARP provides links to each state to see the number of COVID-positive cases and deaths in nursing homes. Across the US, AARP estimates at least 43,000 nursing home deaths are due to COVID-19. In some states, a majority of coronavirus deaths are from nursing home residents and staff. Each state provides information – some more, some less – on the names and locations of nursing homes. In Illinois, for example, one can find the name and numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths for every nursing home. In Minnesota, by contrast, only the names of facilities that have at least 10 coronavirus cases are released. The number of cases is not disclosed. AARP is pressing for more transparency. Easy to use website. Updated June 11, 2020.

Nursing Homes and COVID-19 Cases and Deaths (CMS)

Look up your nursing home to see how many confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths occurred among residents as of September 20, 2020. CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) reports that more than 238,000 nursing home resident confirmed cases have occurred nursing homes. Many nursing homes also reported additional “suspected cases” (139,000). Some nursing homes may not have reported data yet. The nursing homes that did report also indicated 57,000 Covid deaths had occurred. The report is expected to be updated weekly. The Nursing Home Dataset is used best with the filter, using the name of the facility. You must click on Apply, in order for the filter to work. Not user-friendly. Considerable questions have been raised about the accuracy of the data, so consumers should be cautious.

Additionally, CMS has conducted special surveys on over 15,000 nursing homes as of September 25 (nearly 100% of US nursing homes.)  Some targeted inspection reports on nursing homes whose surveys were completed may be available; if so, they can be found on the Nursing Home Compare website. (On the main page, look under Spotlight). Inspection reports are available for nursing homes in the metro areas of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Published by the federal government.

Other Helpful Listings

Accredited Healthcare Facilities – Joint Commission Accreditation (all states) Editor's Pick

Find accredited healthcare facilities in all states, by The Joint Commission (TJC). TJC is formerly JCAHO – Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. It accredits hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Quality Check provides accreditation and comparison information for hospitals, behavioral health care, home health/hospice, laboratories, some nursing homes (called nursing care centers) & assisted living centers, and other health care services. A few actual scores for acute care hospitals  and behavioral health (mental health) programs may be available for 2018.  For nursing homes, consumers are advised also to check state inspection reports . We recently discovered a 1-star Florida nursing home (the lowest possible rating in the state) had been accredited by the Joint Commission. Consumers are always advised to check multiple sources and ratings when researching quality of care. Conflicts in scores may suggest quality is not consistent.

Eldercare Locator – Search services for independent living Editor's Pick

Eldercare Locator is a way to search for services supporting senior independent living. US Department of Health and Human Services provides a free public service through the US Administration on Aging, to help seniors and caregivers find resources anywhere in the country. In addition to the website, you may call 1-800-677-1116 on weekdays to speak with someone who can help (English or Spanish). Very easy to use, by putting in your zip code.

List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) – See Who is Excluded from Medicare Editor's Pick

The List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) is a Medicare fraud prevention site by the HHS Office of Inspector General. It allows consumer to search for a specific name of a person or business to see if they have been excluded from receiving payment from Medicare and Medicaid, due to license revocation, suspension or surrender; program-related fraud; patient abuse or neglect, and other reasons such as default on Health Education Assistance Loans. Exclusions Database contains physicians, nurses, nurses’ aides, hospital employees, pharmacists, nursing home operators and more. More than 72,000 names on the list as of October 2019.

Long-Term Care Insurance Premiums – how much does it cost?

According to analysis by LifePlans, the average long-term care insurance premium cost was $2,727 per year in 2015 (equal to about $3,028 in 2019 dollars, with medical inflation.) Consumers should check current prices with their insurance broker, as prices may have increased substantially.  Most people who purchased long-term care insurance were under age 65. Premiums varied by age group as well as benefits.  Average premium for plans purchased by 55-64 year olds was $2,624; age 65-69 average price paid was $3,255; average price at age 70-74 was $3,945; and average LTC insurance price for those age 75 or older was $5,241. Learn about the most common benefits selected in policies sold, and why consumers bought them. “Non-buyers” were also studied. LifePlans studied 7 companies who have been selling LTC insurance for at least a decade. Published January 2017 by LifePlans for AHIP, America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Resources for Caregivers of Seniors

If you’re a caregiver for a senior, find additional resources here. The Aging Life Care Association (formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) has compiled an extensive list of resources for seniors and their caregivers. Categories include associations, community/social services, government and care management. Consumers can also search for an Aging Life Care Expert

See Also: More Senior Resources at Consumer Health Ratings

Consumer Health Ratings’ category of Seniors, Age 65+ provides extra selected resources for caregivers and older adults. Resources are listed on eldercare, home safety, finding an Aging Life Care Professional, health issues as one ages, avoiding falls, things to know about nursing homes. These resources are free, and can be accessed through Learn More/Health Conditions (click the “See Also” title above).

Skilled Nursing Facility Characteristics – AHCA, 2015 (pdf)

Fast Facts by American Health Care Association (AHCA) shows a few characteristics in aggregate on 15,655 skilled nursing facilities in the US (June 2015). Brief sketch only. A more detailed publication (also 2015) from the federal HHS, the Nursing Home Data Compendium 2015, is also available (not linked above).

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