On Feb. 20, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) unveiled Version 3.0 of its Nursing Home Compare, which updates the current 5-Star Quality Rating System to reflect higher performance standards. Because of these changes, not only will it will be increasingly difficult for nursing homes to earn the much-desired four-star and five-star ratings, but also the ratings for many nursing homes may immediately fall by one or more stars. Further, the changes will also result in more survey citations for unnecessary psychotropic medication, inadequate staffing, poor resident assessment and, in all likelihood, increase civil liability.

Through the 5-Star Quality Rating System, CMS gives nursing homes up to five stars based on: (1) onsite inspections from state public health departments and CMS; (2) various quality measures, which assess patient health outcomes and processes of care; and (3) staffing levels. Industry stakeholders and the public look to a nursing home’s star rating as a way to measure overall quality.

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