Medicare to improve nursing home ratings

AP News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2014 4:20 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it's launching a makeover for Nursing Home Compare, the government website consumers can turn to when a loved one needs long-term care.

Officials said Monday a key improvement will involve a new electronic reporting system to gather details on nurse and aide staffing directly from payroll records.

Staff-to-patient ratios are one of the most important predictors of quality, and currently the government relies on data reported by the facilities themselves.

Required by legislation, the payroll reporting system will take at least a year to implement. Meantime, more focused inspections and new quality measures will be incorporated into the nursing home ratings.

Separately, the administration proposed an update to regulations for home health agencies, the first major rules change since 1989. Improved quality is the goal.