CMS to freeze providers' Five-Star ratings; agency announces more info heading to Nursing Home Compare website

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is gearing up to make changes to its Nursing Home Compare website over the next few months, the agency has noted.

The first round of changes will be made April 23, CMS said, in a letter to state survey agency directors. On that date, CMS will “freeze” quality measure data and the five-star quality ratings that are currently on the site for a period of six months while it collects quality measure data from the new MDS 3.0. The website will also be updated to allow consumers to more easily file complaints against nursing homes with state survey agencies by including links to state complaint websites, and making state fax and phone numbers more prominent. Additionally, CMS will add a more visible “consumer rights” section to the website and a standardized complaint form for those who wish to file a complaint by fax.

In July, CMS will begin displaying information about the number of substantiated complaints it has received, and the number of enforceable actions, such as civil monetary penalties or denials of payment for new admission, that have been imposed. For more information, and to read the CMS letter, click here.