A decision by the government to downgrade nursing facility scores with little explanation is a disservice to both operators and consumers, provider groups alleged.

“Changing quality measures with little meaningful explanation for consumers about the differences between new and old measurements creates confusion,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Consumers researching nursing home care, as well as current residents and their families, might erroneously conclude that a provider’s quality of care is compromised.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services defended the late-April move by insisting scores were lowered at facilities where staffing levels were inadequate. But the sector isn’t buying it.

“By moving the scoring ‘goalposts’ for two components of the Five-Star system, CMS will cause more than 30 percent of nursing centers nationwide to lose one or more stars overnight — even though nothing changed in staffing levels and in quality of care,” said David Gifford, M.D., senior VP for quality at the American Health Care Association.