Posted October 16, 2014 | News
The quality of care and services provided to nursing home residents varies greatly from home to home. To help families and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily, and to watch out for facilities with instances of nursing home abuse, Medicare created the Five-Star Quality Rating System. Medicare grades homes with a star rating for health inspections, staffing and quality measures. Then, these three ratings are combined to calculate an overall rating. It is prudent to review Medicare’s health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data to assess nursing home quality before sending a loved on to a home, and then frequently thereafter, to make sure the facility maintains quality care.
In exchange for Medicare and Medicaid payments, nursing homes promise to give their residents the best possible care. To ensure that nursing homes comply with the minimum standards of care the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services do health inspections of nursing homes and investigate complaints about nursing home care. When a certified nursing home fails to meet the minimum standards, it is issued a deficiency citation. A nursing home that has serious or long standing deficiencies may be issued penalties, such as fines and payment denials, by federal and state government.
Nursing home deficiencies are recorded by state agencies and reported to Medicare. This information is available to the public on Medicare’s website.
It is important to keep in mind that the quality of a nursing home may get much better or much worse in a short period of time. For the most current information on nursing homes, or to find out more about inspections you should contact your state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman’s office or the State Survey Agency. Their contact information can be found here.
Some of the most common nursing home deficiencies include accident hazards, failure to establish an infection control program, failure to provide necessary care for highest practicable well-being, failure to develop comprehensive care plans, employing persons found guilty of abuse, and failing to keep the drug regimen free from unnecessary drugs. These deficiencies may cause serious harm or death to residents so it is important to make sure your loved one’s nursing home has taken proper steps to meet the minimum standards.
If a nursing home has no deficiencies, it means that it met the minimum standards at the time of the inspection. The minimum care standards are government expectations; however, they don’t guarantee quality care. If your loved one is not receiving proper care contact the long term care ombudsman in your area. Consult with an experienced attorney immediately if you think your loved one was seriously injured due to neglectful care.
If you have a concern about the quality of care a family member is receiving at a nursing home and the facility fails to resolve the problem after being given notice, file a complaint with your state. The contact information and website for your state can be found on their website.
After a complaint is registered against a nursing home an inspection will be conducted. If a deficiency is found, the nursing home will be cited and must then take steps to fix the problem or risk penalties such as fines or payment denials.