CMS Star Rating Now

A 14 News article by Caroline Klapp examined the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) scores for nursing homes, and how well they really assess the quality of a facility. Overall, it appears the CMS ratings are a useful tool to evaluate nursing homes, but their scores should not be taken to be infallible. Prospective patients and families ought to observe homes in person in order to draw their own conclusions.

Two nursing home administrators in the Evansville, IN area were interviewed. CMS rates the majority of homes in the Evansville area as having either one or two stars, out of five, indicating a subpar standard of care. Josh Bowman, CEO and administrator of Bethel Manor, asserted that the reason some nursing home scores lowered over the past few years is not because of a decrease in care, but rather a change in the scoring criteria.

Janie Swedenburgh, administrator of Premier Healthcare of New Harmony, a facility with only one star, claimed that the five-star rating system is too “cut and dry” and “doesn’t always tell the full story”.  She believes that the quality measures, reports of things such as number of injuries, falls,
rehospitalizations, is the accurate part of the evaluation despite it being self-reported.  however, she claims the health inspections done by CMS surveyors are “subjective” and “unfair”.  Of course, Swedenburgh is confident that her clinic’s score will be improving next year.

One of Bethel Manor’s strongest categories (4 stars) is staffing, a category Bowman encourages people to consider. A better score in staffing indicates a more time spent per patient on average. Bowman asks families of perspective nursing home patients to consider whether they would rather have their loved
ones in a facility with two and a half hours of care time a day, or four and a half.