Nursing Home Star Ratings Questioned

Everything these days seems to be rated by stars. Hotels, resorts, restaurants, even childcare. With the ratings usually going from one star being the lowest to five stars being the highest, these ratings allow people to tell – at a glance – how good or how bad a place is. This includes nursing homes. And as the News-Gazette out of Illinois reports, believing ratings published on the CMS website might not be the best approach.

It’s a system that was rolled out nearly a decade ago in 2008 to allow nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid programs to assign star values to the facilities. Nursing homes are rated from 1 to 5 stars, with 5-star ratings putting a home at the top of the heap.

The ratings are designed to help families make care decisions. However, relying simply on the rating given by CMS could prove to be a mistake. This is because ratings can change quickly – such as the rating for Arthur Home – which fell from a 5-star rating to a 2-star rating, which is below average. The Piatt County Nursing Home dropped from two stars to one star.

Kirstina Kerst-Day, an administrator for Arthur Home, was expecting to lose stars for a recent violation. However, the home didn’t agree with the complaint investigation and is still contesting the $25,000 fine.

Greg Wilson, vice-president of Peterson Health Care, which operates several nursing homes in Illinois says the rating system isn’t given a lot of credence by industry insiders. What one inspector may flag as a violation, another inspector may allow to pass.

However, even CMS, who created the tool to give an idea of the care the facilities give their patients, said that ratings are never a substitute for in-person visits. They recommend that you visit a facility you are considering several different times before making a decision.

If you or a loved one has been the victim or abuse or neglect while staying in a nursing home, contact the law offices of Schenk Law. Our experienced attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.