The Consumer Voice recently explained some changes that will soon begin regarding nursing home comparisons found on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid website. The changes are currently still fluid, with comments from involved parties still capable of altering the final product. The plan is to have the changes completed by the end of July of this year.
The alterations have been spurred by the Affordable Care Act, which included in its many provisions a requirement that new information be posted comparing nursing home quality.
To meet that requirement three major changes are currently in queue. The first is a feature that allows consumers of nursing home care to more directly file complaints against their facility with the particular state regulatory board. To facilitate this, links to state complaint websites, fax numbers, and phone numbers of the appropriate agencies are all listed. For example, any resident seeking to report Illinois nursing home abuse will find a standardized complaint form on the website which can then be submitted directly to local state officials.
Also, the website now contains a more prominent “consumer rights” section. This area lists the rights of all nursing home residents and more fully explains the options available if one feels that those guarantees are not being fulfilled. In July a comprehensive report sharing information about particular nursing homes will be made available on the website. That report will include the total number of complaints filed against these facilities and number of enforcement actions levied against each.
Lastly, the current quality measurement data and rating system will be temporarily “frozen” while these other changes are put into place. This means that the data used to report overall quality of facilities will not updated as scheduled until October of 2011.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti believe that careful analysis and clear-sighted discussions about nursing home quality are important. We have worked with the families of countless victims who have suffered at the hands of poor care, unsafe conditions, and medical complications at bad nursing homes. In many respects the best way to cut down on those sad examples is to ensure that loved ones are steered clear of these poor locations.
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