A switch is coming soon to how U.S. News and World Report publishes its much-viewed nursing home ratings.
The media company announced Wednesday that it is adding a new short-stay rehab rating, which it hopes will be relevant to both operators and consumers. U.S. News also said it will put much greater emphasis on staffing levels and quality, a move that coincides with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ recent change from self-reported staffing data to payroll-based staffing data.
U.S. News said that during the 2018-2019 span, it will no longer use CMS’ overall star ratings as the basis for calculating its own overall ratings, as it had in the past. Like the CMS ratings, however, staffing, inspections and quality will contribute to the numbers.
“U.S. News elected to make these change to its Best Nursing Home Rating due to three factors: (1) CMS has frozen health inspection data to November 2017 as they go through a full 15 month inspection cycle, (2) in April 2018, CMS changed its staffing assessment from the previous self-reported to a payroll-based system, and (3) experts expressed to U.S. News that the CMS’ star ratings overemphasize certain less reliable data points and underemphasize key data points that are more revealing,” the company said in an email.
The new short-stay rehab rating this year will mirror how U.S. News rates hospitals for procedures and conditions, with the company assigning nursing homes a rating of high-performing, average or below average. These metrics will include sets of three claims-based outcomes — rehospitalizations, discharge to the community, and emergency department visits — along with staffing levels after April 2018, resident complaints, flu vaccinations rates, and more. Short-stay ratings will not be based on Nursing Home Compare star ratings.