A new study of nursing homes in California, the nation’s largest system, by faculty at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Connecticut, found that some nursing homes inflate their self-assessment reporting to improve their score in the Five-Star Quality Rating System employed by Medicare to help consumers. The five-star rating system that Medicare uses to compare nursing homes is made up of three components: employing a base score from an objective, on-site inspection, along with two scores from information on staffing and quality reported by the facility. Patients, physicians and payers rely heavily on these overall ratings, which have climbed higher as self-reported scores have trended upward. The study, recently published in the journal, Production and Operations Management, investigates whether these rating improvements reflect actual quality gains or unjustified ratings inflation. The study uses data from 2009 to 2013, the first five years after the rating system was implemented in 2008. The researchers examined data from more than 1,200 nursing homes in California, the largest system in the U.S., including the facilities’ star ratings and other characteristics from Medicare files and information on facility finances and resident complaints from other databases maintained by the state.
- Winning at All Costs: Analysis of Inflation in Nursing Homes’ Rating System. Journal of Production and Operations Management. 20 November 2017.
- Study press release: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/fau-sss011618.php