Cummings Commends CMS for Improving Nursing Home Rating System
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to an announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it is revising the scoring methodology for its “five-star” rating system for nursing homes:
“I commend CMS for making the Nursing Home Compare website more transparent and less reliant on quality measures reported by nursing homes themselves. I am hopeful that the new ratings system will give Americans more reliable information about the quality of our nation’s nursing homes in order to make informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones.”
On August 26, 2014, Cummings sent a letter to CMS expressing serious concerns that some nursing home facilities are gaming the current “five-star” rating system to mislead consumers about the quality of care they provide.
The rating system awards up to five stars based on health inspections, staffing levels, and quality indicators, but health inspections are the only indicator based on data collected by government inspectors. Scores for the other two indicators—staffing and quality measures—are self-reported by nursing homes.
The New York Times reported that some nursing homes improperly inflate their staffing levels prior to self-reporting, and then cut back on staff soon after inspections occur.
CMS announced today that it will revise the scoring methodology to weigh independent measures more than self-reported data; increase the number and type of quality measures based on data that is not self-reported; and audit data on nursing home staffing on a quarterly basis to increase accuracy and timeliness.