CMS Intends To Update Nursing Home Compare Site With E-Filing

October 8, 2014 in News

On Monday, CMS announced that it will overhaul its Nursing Home Compare website, which aims to help U.S. residents select nursing homes by comparing how facilities perform on certain quality measures, the AP/Washington Post reports (AP/Washington Post, 10/6).


In December 2008, CMS launched the online nursing home ranking system (iHealthBeat, 6/1/2009). The reporting system assigns a certain number of stars to nursing home facilities, similar to systems used to rate hotels. The best possible rating Medicare can give to a nursing home is five stars.

However, a New York Times‘ “Business Day” analysis found that the system largely relied on self-reported data from nursing homes that went unverified. The analysis concluded that the website could mislead consumers, investors and others about the facilities’ conditions because it is based on incomplete information.

Nursing Home Compare Updates

Beginning in January 2015, officials said they would implement several changes, including the implementation of an electronic filing system through which nursing homes will report their staffing levels on a quarterly basis. The data will be verified with payroll information. In addition, CMS will start an auditing program to ensure all of the reported data are accurate (Thomas, “Business Day,” New York Times, 10/6).

According to the AP/Sacramento Bee, the updates will take at least one year to implement. Until then, nursing home ratings will be based on updated quality measures (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/6).

For example, starting in January 2015, ratings also will be based on the percentage of a nursing home’s residents who are receiving antipsychotic drugs, as well as staffing levels and quality statistics. CMS plans to add other measures, including:

  • The percentage of residents readmitted to hospitals; and
  • The percentage of residents released from nursing home care.

Officials also said the new reporting system eventually will allow consumers to view statistics like staff turnover and other quality measures.

While the electronic reporting system will launch in 2015, the data will not be reflected in nursing home ratings until 2016, according to officials.

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, said, “We are focused on using as many tools as are available to promote quality improvement and better outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries” (“Business Day,” New York Times, 10/6).

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