Long-term care providers could soon see changes to the Nursing Home Compare website under the latest initiative by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The agency announced Thursday that it plans to combine and standardize its eight separate Compare websites: Nursing Home, Hospital, Home Health, Dialysis Facility, Long-Term Care Hospital, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, Physician and Hospice.
The change would allow users to access the same information through a single entry point and offer simplified navigation, Administrator Seema Verma wrote in a blog post.
“The new ‘Medicare Care Compare’ on Medicare.gov will offer Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers and other users a consistent look and feel, providing a streamlined experience to meet their individual needs in accessing information about health care providers and care settings,” Verma wrote.
“In the new, unified experience, patients will be able to easily find the information that is most important to help make healthcare decisions, like getting quality data by the type of health care provider,” she added.
Advocates called on CMS to ensure information on the combined site will also benefit providers.
“We applaud CMS for taking steps to simplify and improve all of its Medicare Compare websites to make it easier for the consumer to find the best care options. While we support efforts to make a single site with easier ways to find information, we also urge CMS to look at making sure the same information is available for all providers,” David Gifford, M.D., chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association, said in a statement Thursday to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
“As we have previously stated, CMS should also add customer satisfaction to Nursing Home Compare because that is the best way for consumers to select facilities and is information available for most other providers,” he added.
LeadingAge said Thursday that CMS could use the opportunity to improve the Nursing Home Compare site and that it looks forward to working with the agency as they develop and roll out the new website.
“This initiative offers a great opportunity for CMS to re-evaluate and improve Nursing Home Compare. For instance, LeadingAge has and continues to urge CMS to incorporate the resident’s voice in Nursing Home Compare through data collection processes similar to the CAHPS utilized on Hospice Compare and the HCAHPS found on Hospital Compare,” Janine Finck-Boyle, LeadingAge’s vice president of regulatory affairs, said.
Finck-Boyle added that the agency should also reconsider its use of the consumer alert icon.
“We believe that important information on providers should be shared in a clear and consistent manner in order to ensure that consumers get up-to-date and accurate information about what they can expect when receiving care and services in a given nursing home. The icon, as we have stated, is misleading and cannot provide consumers with the relevant information needed when selecting care for a loved one,” she said.