Medicare’s Nursing Home Ratings Fail to Give Complete Depiction

Tanya Hobson-Williams, NY AttorneyA recent investigation into Medicare’s nursing home rating system by The New York Times revealed that the high rating of many top nursing homes, is based on incomplete information about the quality and conditions at the homes.

The report found that the 1-5 star medical rating system is largely based on self-reported data by the nursing homes that the government does not verify. The only data that is subject to review from outside agencies is the results from annual health inspections. As a result, other important measurements of nursing homes — such as staff levels and quality statistics, are mostly left to the nursing home to report to Medicare.

The investigation also revealed that the rating system fails to take into account other potentially negative information such as fines imposed by the state or enforcement sanctions from state agencies.

While federal officials maintain that the rating system can be improved, and that they are working to make it better, many individuals, including former nursing home employees, lawyers and patient advocacy groups, believe that these nursing homes have merely learned how to abuse the rating system.

Indeed, the Times investigation revealed that even nursing homes with a history of poor care rate highly in the areas that rely on self-reported data.

Still more shocking was that the report found nearly two-thirds of over than 50 nursing homes who had been flagged for poor quality issues, hold four- or five-star ratings for their quality statistics!

Luckily, independent reviews of these institutions reveal a much more thorough assessment of the nursing home’s true nature. Indeed, more than 95 percent of the homes on the watch list received just one or two stars from their health inspection, a state regulation.

If you or your elderly loved one are currently searching for a senior living option, it is important that you do not solely rely on the Medicare ratings 5-star system to make your determination. There are a number of independent reviews of facilities that can be resourceful your decision making process. Additionally, if you suspect that you or an elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, contact Tanya Hobson-Williams P.C. immediately.

Read more tips on how to ensure the safety of a loved one in a nursing home: http://www.thobsonwilliamslaw.com/news/safety-of-loved-ones.php

Written by Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

Author: Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John's University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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