Otterbein Asks for Changes to CMS Star Ratings

Otterbein’s New Development Project Manager Anthony Williams, MGS, MBA, along with Scripps Gerontology Center’s Jane K. Straker, PhD and Robert Applebaum, PhD are recommending that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) five-star system for rating nursing homes be refined to include a consumer component.  The team analyzed widely publicized CMS star-ratings to determine to what extent they aligned with resident and family satisfaction data in Ohio nursing facilities.  Results suggested that the star-rating system does not adequately reflect whether elders and their families are actually satisfied with their nursing home experiences.

Otterbein congratulates the trio on getting published in the prestigious Oxford Journal publication, The Gerontologist®, with their article The Nursing Home Five Star Rating: How Does It Compare to Resident and Family Views of Care? The Gerontologist®, published since 1961, is a bimonthly journal of The Gerontological Society of America. The publication of this article in such a prominent venue will bring light to their argument and lead to much discussion about the current rating system.

According to the article, quality-of-care data captured by the CMS ratings are undoubtedly important to examining nursing homes. However, for many residents, the facility is where they live for a long period of time. “This makes the evaluation of quality-of-life measures, such as those captured by Ohio’s satisfaction surveys, crucial as well,” stated Anthony.  Little research has been done in the past to study how these CMS star-ratings compare to the satisfaction scores of residents and family members.

The article concludes with stating that at a minimum, the complete exclusion of consumer satisfaction data from NHC is cause for concern. “Residents should at least be provided the opportunity to provide some input into how their nursing homes are rated….In order to serve as a more comprehensive and reliable resource for consumers, CMS could work to better integrate the thoughts and opinions of consumers into its NHC star-rating system.