Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

New Nursing Home Rating System Launched by Fed. Gov't

Consumers and caregivers who are looking for quality nursing home care for their loved ones can now research and compare thousands of facilities nationwide, under a new website and five-star rating system released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The new website Nursing Home Compare, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), "provides information to help individuals, family members, caregivers, and those who assist them find and compare nursing homes, and make informed decisions about nursing home care," according to CMS. Nursing Home Compare provides users with detailed information on all Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes nationwide.

CMS offers advice to consumers and caregivers who are searching for a quality nursing home: "Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide to their residents. Reviewing health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data are three important ways to measure nursing home quality. This information gives you a 'snap shot' of the care individual nursing homes give. One of the most important things to do is to visit the nursing homes you are considering. If possible, also contact your Long-Term Care Ombudsman or State Survey Agency before making a decision." You can also take along a copy of the CMS Nursing Home Checklist to help you when you're visiting and evaluating a nursing home.