Earlier this year, standards regarding the quality of nursing homes and nursing home care were readjusted, resulting in many nursing homes’ ratings dropping quickly. The new, higher standards are intended to increase the quality of care provided in nursing homes nationwide.

The old standards were implemented in 2008, and the current five-star ranking system was introduced to help users understand the ratings. However, accusations of inflated rankings and inaccurate or unverified ranking methods called for changes to the existing system.

The Basics of Nursing Home Standards in the United States

Medicare runs a website called Nursing Home Compare, which ranks more than 15,000 facilities across the United States on a scale of one to five. According to the New York Times, one third of the nation’s nursing homes saw their scores drop with the readjustment.

The five-star ranking system is based on three separate factors:

  • Health Inspections (annually or more regularly if complaints arise)
  • Quality Measures
  • Staffing (including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and certified nurse aids)

How Have Nursing Home Standards Changed in 2015?

Most of the changes to nursing home standards and the resulting rankings were in the quality measures section, but the scoring method for the staffing section was also modified.

Changes to Staffing Standards

One of the biggest criticisms of the staffing standards that were implemented in 2008 was that nursing homes were reporting their own staffing data, and there was no process for verification. Recent changes still require nursing homes to report their own staffing data, but it must be done four times annually, and through an electronic system that allows the information to be verified via payroll information.

Changes to Quality Measures Standards

Quality measures are based on 11 factors, and a score is determined based on rankings for each of these factors. The 2015 change added two measures, one for short-term stays and one for long-term residents, both regarding the use of antipsychotic medications. Recent changes also increased the total score required to earn higher than a 2-star ranking on the quality measures standard overall.

The 11 factors used to consider quality measures are split into two groups – long-term residents and short-stay residents – with particular attention to incidents of bedsores, catheter placement, physical restraints, major injuries, and antipsychotic medication.  The failure to properly administer or address these factors may constitute nursing home negligence and can be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Do You Need Help from a Michigan Nursing Home Negligence Attorney?

Although nursing home standards are rising, many facilities still have a long way to go to provide quality care and treatment. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence or abuse, financial compensation may be available, but the law gives you only a limited amount of time to pursue your rights.  Please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group today for a free initial consultation.

Kenneth T. Watkins

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Kenneth T. Watkins

Kenneth T. Watkins is an accomplished trial attorney and Senior Shareholder with Sommers Schwartz. Over the course of his career, he has obtained numerous multimillion-dollar settlements. His achievements include one of the largest seven-digit medical malpractice cases in Macomb County in 2008, and his election to membership in the exclusive Million Dollar Verdict Club.