Updated Five-Star doesn't fix accuracy issues, senator says

Senator Robert Casey
Senator Robert Casey

New quality measures added to the Five-Star Quality Rating System this week are unlikely to improve the accuracy of the ratings, according to one lawmaker.

While the updated measures give prospective nursing home residents and their families more information when choosing a facility, they do little to “impact the accuracy and reliability of the measures reported,” Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) told Bloomberg BNA on Wednesday.

Casey has been critical of the measures before. Last year, he and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested an investigation into the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' rating system by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO agreed to conduct an investigation last August.

Specifically, Casey and Wyden asked that the government watchdog study the steps CMS takes to ensure the Five-Star data is timely and reliable, if there are meaningful differences between star levels and how the number of complaints a facility receives aligns with the system.

Casey also asked for feedback on what stakeholders considering the strengths and weaknesses of the Five-Star, and how consumers use the ratings and the Nursing Home Compare tool.

“We expect the GAO report to be published this fall [2016] and look forward to their recommendations on how the system can be improved,” Casey told Bloomberg BNA.