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US News Updates Nursing Home Rating System, Focus on Quality, Staffing

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U.S. News has published ratings of nursing home performance since 2009, their ratings mirroring a system of star ratings published on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website. Next week, U.S. News will introduce a new composite quality measure – called the Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating – that assesses the performance of individual skilled nursing facilities in post-acute care.

Short-Stay Rehabilitation ratings for almost 13,000 skilled nursing facilities will be published on Oct. 30 at Best Nursing Homes. The Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating was determined by nine measures of facility quality. These included three measures of short-stay outcomes – hospital readmissions, emergency room visits and successful discharges – as well as data on staffing of registered nurses and physical therapists, the number of substantiated complaints per patient and other metrics.

In addition to introducing the Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating, U.S. News has revamped its methods for assigning more than 15,000 nursing homes an Overall rating, which covers long-term as well as short-stay care. To calculate its Overall ratings, U.S. News used CMS-assigned ratings in the domains of staffing, inspections and quality measures; U.S. News did not use CMS’ overall star rating. The U.S. News methodology gives primacy to each facility’s staffing data which, according to experts, are crucial indicators of quality.

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