CMS launched Nursing Home Compare in 1998, adding the Five Star Nursing Home Quality Rating System in 2008. Through the Five-Star program, CMS summarizes available data for nursing homes in a consumer-friendly format while providing comparisons against state and national data for reference.

On August 10, 2016, CMS added five new quality measures to the calculations for its nursing home Five-Star Quality Ratings. The five measures are available on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website, which aggregates data on health inspections, staffing, and quality indicators to provide facility ratings.

Three of these measures are based on Medicare claims data submitted by hospitals. Until the addition of these quality measures, the CMS quality measures were based solely on data self-reported by nursing homes. The quality measures are:

  1. Percentage of short-stay residents who were successfully discharged to the community (Medicare claims- and Minimum Data Set (MDS)-based);
  2. Percentage of short-stay residents who have had an outpatient emergency department visit (Medicare claims- and MDS-based);
  3. Percentage of short-stay residents who were rehospitalized after a nursing home admission (Medicare claims- and MDS-based);
  4. Percentage of short-stay residents who made improvements in function (MDS-based);
  5. Percentage of long-stay residents whose ability to move independently worsened (MDS-based)

The additional quality measures represent an effort by CMS to emphasize quality of care. As patients and families use Nursing Home Compare to evaluate facility options, providers should be prepared to answer questions and explain the information that factor into the facility’s star rating.

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