Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare
December 4, 2020, CMS posted QSO 21-06-NH … Updates to the Nursing Home Compare Website and Five Star Quality Rating System.
This 3-page QSO memorandum provides updates on the Health Inspection and Quality Measure domains of the Five Star Quality Rating System, and the transition to the new Care Compare website.
Health Inspection Ratings
CMS will resume calculating nursing homes’ health inspection ratings on January 27, 2021. Furthermore, findings from the focused infection control inspections will be used to calculate each nursing home’s inspection rating. These findings will be included the same way findings from complaint inspections are used in the Five Star Quality Rating System.
As previously mentioned, CMS waived the timeframes that facilities are required to submit resident assessment information through the Minimum Data Set (MDS) per 42 CFR 483.20. We note that while the timeframes for submitting data were waived, nursing homes have still been submitting the required data. Since nursing homes have continued to submit MDS data, the data can be used to update quality measures without any issues. We have also analyzed the data used to support the claims-based quality measures, and similarly, see no issues updating these measures. Therefore, the quality measures posted on the Nursing Home Compare website and used in the Five Star Quality Rating System will be updated on January 27, 2021. This action will not only inform residents and families of the current status of residents in nursing homes but will also incentivize nursing homes to improve performance. As we progress, CMS will analyze the quality measures for any significant changes, and take any actions needed to improve and protect resident health and safety.
To update the quality measures, CMS will use data based on the data collection period ending June 30, 2020. We note that these updates do not apply to quality measures that are part of the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (SNF QRP).
These actions will also automatically result in updates to the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program, including updates to SFF candidates, and facilities’ status for receiving an icon for noncompliance related to abuse.
More details will be posted by January 15th, 2021 in the Five Star Technical Users’ Guide.
Transition to the new Care Compare website
CMS is completing its transition to the new website. As of December 1, 2020, the legacy Nursing Home Compare website, and the data.medicare.gov website (which houses the underlying data for the Nursing Home Compare website) are no longer available, and users will be redirected to the new websites. Note: There is no change in the information available about nursing homes or the methodology used to calculate ratings. The information is now presented in a more user-friendly format. We’re excited to complete this transition and look forward to continuing to enhance the information available to residents, families, and consumers, so they can more easily learn about the quality of care nursing homes provide.
To search for, and view information about nursing homes, please visit https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare/.
Be sure to review the QSO memorandum in its entirety as there are numerous hyperlinks to additional information.