California requires nursing homes to post Five-Star ratings

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Nursing homes in California, as of the start of the year, must publicly post their facilities' ratings as determined by the federal Five-Star Quality Rating System.

It is the first state in the country to require facilities to post their score, according to the Los Angeles Times. State officials told the newspaper that this system incentivizes operators to maintain high-quality care and safety practices. It also, they say, helps residents and their families pay attention to how well the homes adhere to state regulations. As part of this state legislation, nursing homes are required to post information explaining the ratings, as well as how to find the state's licensing records via the Department of Public Health. The federal system gives nursing homes a rating of one to five stars, based on the quality of care, similar to the way hotels and restaurants are rated, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Critics of this system argue that the federal star ratings will hurt well-run homes that provide care to the most critically ill patients, which don't fare as well as homes with healthier patients. Also, they told the newspaper that federal ratings wouldn't take into account more recent violations.

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