The federal government now has an online tool consumers can use in evaluating the quality of nursing-home care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will start running a pilot program to see if cash incentives to nursing homes can improve the care they provide, especially in areas like nurse staffing and preventable hospitalizations. Recently, the federal government started a star program that rates nursing homes and flagged 135 of the most troubled nursing homes. Many nursing home residents are forced to pay for their own care, because they earn too much for Medicaid, and are only given Medicare. They are then surprised by Medicare’s limited coverage for nursing-home, which is up to 100 days after a hospitalization of three days or more. To qualify for this, a patient must have a doctor’s order to go to a nursing home for the same illness or injury that she was treated for at the hospital. The new online website will list the nursing homes with summarized data from state and federal inspections and information the nursing homes reported to regulators. The website will contain information about nursing homes in Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the nursing home program, please click the link.