Today, CMS announced updates coming next month to Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Quality Rating System. The April 2019 changes include revisions to the inspection process, enhancement of new staffing information, and implementation of new quality measures.
The changes include lifting of the ‘freeze’ on the health inspection ratings instituted in February 2018. CMS froze the health inspection star ratings category after implementing a new survey process for Long-Term Care facilities. Because facilities receive surveys at different times, some facilities would have been surveyed under the old process and others under the new process.
Additionally, CMS is setting higher thresholds and evidence-based standards for nursing homes’ staffing levels, adding measures of long-stay hospitalizations and emergency room transfers, and removing duplicate measures. This update also introduces separate quality ratings for short-stay and long-stay residents and revising the rating thresholds to better identify the differences in quality.