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New Medicare Website Provides More Resources For Consumers

The elder abuse attorneys at our firm believe strongly that transparency and accountability are the hallmarks of improving care at facilities nationwide. One of the great tragedies of nursing home abuse and neglect is that so much of it flies under the radar screen. That seeming invisibility-at least among those who do not work in this field-is a key reason why the mistreatment perpetuates. Hopefully the silence on the topic soon changes. One of the ways that might happen is with continued advancements like a recent upgrade of the official Medicare “Nursing Home Compare” website.

The official Medicare nursing home website has long been a good resource for families working through the process of finding an appropriate facility for their loved one. Improvements are being unrolled now, however, that offer even more benefit for these families and seniors. The new redesign now allows residents and their families to more easily file complaints against homes where they have experienced mistreatment. Following the changes, consumers can now file complaints directly with state agencies and used standardized complaint forms. Then, following the submission, the complaints will be made available to the public for browsing consumers to have a complete picture of the care provided at the facility.

While these changes offering easier access to complaint forms are simple, they may have significant effects on the way care is provided. Many more families than not consider filing a complaint or taking action against a negligent caregiver than ever actually take steps to do so. The choice between staying silent and speaking out often hinges on a simple nudge in one direction or another. Having the ability to share one’s situation online, directly to the appropriate state agency, without additional steps may be just such a nudge that encourage more sharing. The accountability provided by families who have actually experienced the care is a crucial check on nursing home actions. All efforts that make it very easy to make ones experience known may go a long way to encourage these facilities to take long-needed steps to improve their treatment of residents.

In addition, our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers were happy to learn that beginning next year the CMS website will begin to display the results of new quality measures on nationwide nursing homes. The measures will be based on the new MDS 3.0 nursing home resident assessments. These upgraded measurements will replace currently available assessments. Those familiar with the site should note that the federal officials will not calculate their traditional 5 star rankings based upon this new data until at least April of next year.

We hope that the upgrades to this important federal nursing home site will draw even more searchers to the important resource. Preventing nursing home neglect and mistreatment requires careful research on the part of community members such that they educate themselves enough to steer clear of the consistently underperforming homes. That is why the CMS website can be easily navigated with searches by city, county, zip, or nursing home name.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs–The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

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See Our Related Blog Posts:

New Way to Support Nursing Home Laws

Pilot Program Seeks to Improve Troubled Nursing Homes in Illinois