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Nursing Home Ratings Updated By Medicare, Federal Government

Nursing Home Ratings

The star ratings for about 30% of nursing homes in the United States were lowered on Friday as federal officials updated the quality standards in the system due to criticism that the federal ratings were inaccurate and inflated.

Officials said they hope the changes make it easier for consumers to choose a nursing home facility while encouraging nursing homes to make necessary improvements.

The changes that went into effect on Friday were aimed at one of three major criteria that are used to rank nursing homes on the Nursing Home Compare website. The website ranks over 15,000 nursing homes in the nation on a scale of one to five. Officials adjusted the curve for the quality measures rating based on information collected about each patient at the facilities, the New York Times reported.

Prior to the update, nearly 80% of the nursing homes in the country received a four or five star rating. Now, just 50% of nursing homes have such a rating. The number of nursing homes with a one star rating rose from 8.5% to 13%. Around 28% of facilities dropped one star in their overall ratings with about 1,200 facilities losing the coveted five-star status, USA Today reported.

Representatives for the nursing home industry say the update will only frustrate consumers given the magnitude of the change. Advocates for residents say the changes were long overdue.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Robyn Grant” author_title=”Director of public policy and advocacy at Consumer Voice”]

We think that rescaling the quality measures will result in improved reporting of the quality of care a nursing home may provide.


Nursing Home Compare is the gold standard in evaluating nursing homes, and it receives more than 1.4 million visitors every year.

Last year, the New York Times reported that the rating system relied too heavily on unverified information, allowing nursing homes that had a documented history of quality issues to receive a top rating. For example, two of the three major criteria in the system — quality measures statistics and staffing levels — were self-reported and not audited by the government.

In October, the government announced it would begin requiring nursing homes to report staffing levels each quarter with an electronic system to verify with payroll while beginning a nationwide auditing program designed to check if a facility’s quality statistics are accurate.

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