McKnights had an article recently discussing the report (“Five-star ratings for sub-par service: Evidence of inflation in nursing home ratings.”) from the Brookings Institution and the University of Connecticut School of Business that found at least 6% up to 12.5% of skilled nursing providers inflate their self-reported staffing and quality measures, causing inaccuracies in their overall ratings.

Researchers identified a trend of facilities’ self-reported staffing and quality measures shifting to higher star ratings between 2009 and 2013. During that same time period, the distribution of on-site inspection ratings between the star levels remained unchanged.

The improved ratings are not legitimate but are rather a result of nursing homes’ success in developing strategies to manipulate the system and inflate their ratings.

“Although CMS has implemented minor improvements to its rating system, it is still largely based on self-reported measures and does not address the issue of inflation,” the researchers wrote. “[Our] results can be used to strategically focus future audits on the nursing homes which are most likely to be inflators, and help CMS improve the rating system.”

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