The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), a division of the federal Department of Health has stated that their five star rating system that reviews nursing homes is going to be overhauled, due to complaints that it is not adequate. The claims are that much of the data is unverified.
This rating method is currently based on reports from the nursing homes themselves and not audited by the government; hence, the homes are rated via an honor system in the assumption that the statistics are correct.
The data covers two main areas: staffing levels and quality statistics and it has been addressed to the the government that some of the 15,000 nursing homes in the country are not being particularly truthful regarding this criteria or providing exaggerated results.
Nursing homes will soon be required to report their staffing levels on a quarterly basis, using an electronic system that can be verified with payroll data, similar to the EHR (Electronic Health Records) system now employed by physicians.
In addition, government auditors will begin a nationwide auditing system that is focused on determining whether the nursing home data is true and correct.
In addition, the ratings program will now include data of the nursing homes that provide antipsychotic drugs to their patients.
President Obama recently signed into law a bill that will provide $11 million towards an electronic collection system. Called The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, it will increase official visits to hospice facilities which will further help to keep health care statistics more adequate.