Critics: Gaps in 'Compare' site

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The federal website that informs consumers about specific nursing homes has “considerable” knowledge gaps, a pair of prominent Harvard University researchers asserted recently.

Nursing Home Compare fails to provide information on short vs. long nursing home stays, facility features or amenities, care coordination or the “culture and care philosophy” of the provider, criticized Brian E. McGarry, Ph.D., and David Grabowski, Ph.D, in a blog post in Health Affairs.

Many don't even know the 19-year-old website exists, the authors noted.

They recommended adding the following to the website: physical plant age, photos, private room availability and, in strong agreement with providers, reviews from residents or family members.

“Recent evidence suggests that consumers are already turning to social media platforms such as Facebook to post facility feedback and obtain first-hand perspectives,” the researchers noted.

CMS could consider making it mandatory for Medicare beneficiaries to learn of Nursing Home Compare, they added.