Consumer Alerts Added to Nursing Home Compare Website and the Five-Star Quality Rating System

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

I provided the press release/information on October 7, 2019 regarding the updates to Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Quality Rating System.   CMS also issued Survey & Certification Notice QSO-20-01-NH, dated that same day, to relay this information to providers and State Survey Agency Directors.

The 2-page S&C contains this Memorandum Summary:

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The bullet above relating to the alert on NHC for Oregon facilities was a surprise to me – it was not included in the Press Release.  Additional information about that is found on page 2 of the S&C.

These changes will appear on NHC beginning October 23, 2019.  CMS says that “these updates are reinforce CMS’ commitment to transparency and providing consumers with information to help them make informed decisions for their, or their loved one’s health care.”

Also on October 7, 2019, CMS issued Survey Notice QSO-20-02-NH to specifically to address the updates to the Five-Star Quality Rating System.  Here’s the Memorandum Summary for this 3-page S&C:

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In addition to relaying the removal of quality measures related to pain and the increase of quality measure thresholds, CMS posted the NHC Update Schedule.

“Normally, the Nursing Home Compare website and Five Star Quality Rating System are updated the last Wednesday of each month. However, due to the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day), the website and rating system will not be updated on its normal schedule.

Below are the dates of the updates over the next few months:

  • October 23, 2019
  • December 4, 2019
  • January 29, 2020

Future updates will continue to occur on the last Wednesday of each month.”

The Five-Star Technical Users Guide was updated as a result of the NHC additions even though the cover identifies the date of the guide as April 2019.  Note this statement below the April date on the cover: “Updated September 2019 with a description of changes to the Five-Star Quality Rating System that will be made in October 2019.”  Review pages 2 and 3 of the Guide for the October 2019 revisions.

The information in both S&C Notices as well as the updated Five-Star Guide should be shared with your management team.  The team needs to be aware of these changes as any/many of them may be asked by families, residents and prospective residents/families about your facility’s NHC status.  When was the last time you checked it on NHC???