Findings in a recent report published by the New York Times have raised questions as to whether families can trust the ratings of skilled nursing facilities that are provided by federal regulators. The U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a five-star system to rate and judge the quality of nursing homes across the country. The rating system has been in place for the last five years and is meant to help family members who may be considering placing their loved ones into long-term care facilities.
Does Nursing Home Abuse Influence Facility Ratings?
However, the New York Times published an investigative report in August 2014 suggesting that these ratings are mainly based on data that is self-reported by the nursing homes themselves, with little or no confirmation by regulators to determine whether this information is accurate.
The three categories on which ratings are based include quality statistics, staffing levels, and annual health inspections. However, only annual health inspections come from independent, neutral reviews. The other two categories are based on information provided by the facility to CMS.
In addition to the questions regarding the lack of confirmation for self-reported data, the New York Times report also outlined several factors that should also be taken into consideration when rating the quality of nursing homes that the CMS does not currently consider, including customer complaints, fines, and enforcement actions taken by state regulators. According to the report, several five-star nursing homes were well known in their respective states for allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect.
For instance, although one facility was awarded a five-star rating, it was fined $100,000 for the wrongful death of a resident as a result of a medication error involving a blood thinner. The same facility in question also had 102 complaints by family members and patients involving the quality of the care that was being provided, but these issues were not factored into the rating provided by the CMS.
Due to the reported issues involving nursing home ratings, it becomes even more important for family members to clearly research the nursing home facility that they are considering for their loved ones. However, in some cases, simply reading reviews and ratings does not necessarily reveal complaints or allegations against a nursing home.
Do You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse? Contact Us Today
Attorney Group understands it can be devastating to find out that your loved one has fallen victim of nursing home neglect or abuse. We provide free case evaluations to nursing home residents or their families who may be interested in learning about their options. We can help to answer your questions and put you in contact with an affiliated nursing home abuse attorney who can help you or your family seek damages to which you may be entitled. Call today.