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.
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
Overall composite nursing home quality ratings based on a summary of 15 quality measures on over 15,000 nursing homes in 2018. 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.
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 April 29, 2020.
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 on quality measures for each hospital. Graph view will show the actual performance results. Most data are from 2017 or 2018. Provided by Medicare.gov.
New list from 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 16,000 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. Updated May 18, 2020.
The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO – Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) 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 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.
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.
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.
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
Fast Facts by American Health Care Association (AHCA) shows a few characteristics in aggregate on 15,655 skilled nursing homes US (June 2015). Brief sketch only.