Senators ask GAO to review Five Star Rating System accuracy

Last week, a Pennsylvania Senator wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that an assessment of the nursing home Five Star Quality Rating System be conducted to ensure its accuracy and usefulness to consumers. Senator Bob Casey, joined by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, asked the GAO to use the most recent set of available data – the same data used to calculate the new ratings for Nursing Home Compare 3.0.

Elements that were requested for review include:

  • The steps taken by CMS to ensure that data is timely and reliable, and whether the practices are consistent across CMS regions
  • If there are meaningful distinctions in the different star levels of the rating system
  • How substantiated complaints are aligned with the rankings based on quantity and type
  • The strengths/weaknesses of the system as perceived by stakeholders, including ombudsmen, SAs and others
  • The types of residents/families that are using Nursing Home Compare and how the information could potentially be improved to provide them with additional knowledge and help

The Five Star Rating System’s update caused much concern for many nursing facilities earlier this year, as they saw their ratings change with the new calculations. The addition of new Quality Measures is reflected in these new scores.


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