Ask the payment expert ... about facility comparisons

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Ask the payment expert ... about the observation stay loophole
Ask the payment expert ... about the observation stay loophole

What information is available so we can compare our nursing facility to others in the industry? 

One easy way to compare your clinical outcomes (Quality Measures) is to use the Nursing Home Compare website at www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare. This is what consumers review. 

For each of the three key areas of health inspection, staffing and quality measures, you will see your scores, state and national benchmarks. It will also identify your Five Star rating. Your marketing and admissions personnel should review this website on at least a monthly basis. 

You also can review your Quality Measures that your MDS nurse should obtain off the CASPER system each month. The timespan for QMs from these two sources will differ as the information is calculated differently.

Other benchmarking information may be available from your state or national association's databases, such as the American Health Care Association's LTC Trend Tracker. 

Nursing home benchmarks for labor and costs also can be calculated using either Medicaid or Medicare cost reporting data. This can be very useful data where you can be compared to your labor market, your state, your region and national benchmarks. 

Information for continuing care retirement community benchmarks is more difficult to obtain. The CARF-CCAC continuing care accreditation commission publishes operational benchmark reports periodically and you can obtain those if you are a member. 

The next question then becomes how to use the data. You need to be careful as numbers are just that: numbers. They do not take into consideration the uniqueness of your facility. 

Benchmarks are just one piece of information for analysis of how you compare to others.