Nursing homes respond to news report that one in five nursing homes rate poorly

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Heroes' welcome gets rave reviews
Heroes' welcome gets rave reviews

A recent analysis by USA Today finds that one in five U.S. nursing homes consistently receive poor ratings for overall quality under the Five-Star Quality Rating System. Such news is not surprising to many in long-term care since the system predetermines that a certain percentage receive one-star ratings.

The newspaper neglected to mention that the five-star rating system rates on a bell curve, according to one source in the long-term care community familiar with the workings of the five-star system. To put it simply, one-fifth of nursing facilities will receive ratings of one star, regardless of how well they perform.

There are other flaws with the system, according to those in the long-term care community. USA Today paraphrased Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, USA Today, who thinks the star-rating system should account for patient satisfaction.

Provider groups have long called for resident, family and staff satisfaction surveys to be included in the five-star rating system. In an analysis of data from more than 12,000 residents and family members conducted in June of 2009, research and consulting firm Holleran found little to no association between a facility's rating on the five-star scale and the patient or family's level of satisfaction with the facility.

“We're very concerned about the way the data is presented” in the five-star system, Lauren Shaham, vice president of communications with AAHSA, told McKnight's Thursday. “The Five-Star program is a great idea, but the way it's been implemented is lacking and not helpful to consumers,” she said.