The Five Star rating system is about to get retooled, thanks to a scathing report in The New York Times. The only real question is how extensive the changes will be.
After The New York Times noted that providers are apparently gaming the Five Star rating system by enhancing staffing and quality data, federal lawmakers quickly put an indignant pen to paper.
The Five Star Quality Rating System takes the spotlight on the front page of the New York Times and the top of the news cycle, kicking off other publicity and political pressure. Regardless of any of the program's weaknesses, however, it cannot be ignored that providers have used this metric to establish goals and measure improvement — and improved they have.
A leader in Congress has called for an evaluation of the nursing home five-star rating system in light of a recent New York Times article. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) requested that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials brief his staff by Sept. 16. One area of concern is the heavy reliance on nursing homes' self-reported data about staffing levels and quality of care, which may not be regularly audited for accuracy, Cummings stated in his Aug. 26 letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.