Minnix sounds off on rating system for nursing homes

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The five-star rating system for nursing homes officially begins tomorrow. But it is already off to a rocky start.

Today the normally easygoing Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, sent a scathing e-mail to members about the new system and the way it is being handled.

The title, “A Five-Star Travesty of Justice, Poorly Implemented,” sums up his message. Incensing Minnix was the discovery that CMS handed over its entire database of five-star ratings to the national media and state survey agencies in advance of providers receiving their facility data.

When AAHSA got wind of this and called CMS on it, the agency responded with a conference call with state and national association leaders. It told a caller it could not send the same data to the association members. Minnix shares other examples of poorly handled policies in his e-mail message.

This is not such an auspicious beginning for the five-star system. And the program already has been under fire for failing to take into account satisfaction surveys and for relying on a flawed survey process.

A press conference will be held Thursday on the plan. We’ll see what the agency has to say then. But CMS certainly is not setting up nursing homes to succeed if it has indeed chosen to share critical information with the media first. Certainly, rattling the head of at least one major nursing home association doesn’t help either.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.