You know them as the organization that ranks colleges and hospitals, but did you also know that U.S. News & World Report maintains their own ratings for nursing homes across the country? Since 2009 the group has maintained and published their Best Nursing Homes list, a compilation of over 15,000 facilities scored along a five point scale that ranges from Poor to Top Performing (Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Top Performing). Those who receiving a Top Performing rating are listed as a “Best Nursing Home.” This scale is intended to to provide an easy comparison to results found on The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Nursing Home Compare site, which ranks nursing homes from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest score.
Until recently, U.S. News used CMS’ ratings as the foundation of their own nursing home grades and U.S. News & World Report nursing home ratings were virtually identical to those found on Nursing Home Compare. However, U.S. News recently decided to change the way they rate nursing homes to give the public what they believe is a more accurate picture of the most important and relevant indicators of quality.
U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Nursing Homes list included 724 Illinois nursing homes. Of these, 76 facilities received a “Best Nursing Home” designation.
Aiming for More Complete Information
Why the switch? According to U.S. News, there are several factors, including a focus on rehabilitation and a greater emphasis placed on medical quality measures as a significant factor in determining overall facility quality.
The news organization says that they have buckled down on medical quality measures and have capped overall ratings for nursing homes who demonstrate substandard care in this area, saying that experts have expressed to them that CMS’ ratings do not put a large enough emphasis on these issues. The medical quality measures they evaluate are long-stay, short-stay and rehabilitation outcomes, the same aspects of care that Nursing Home Compare examines. Some of these issues include the number of residents who received flu and pneumonia shots, the number of falls, the percentage of residents readmitted to a hospital, and facility discharge rates.
Another significant difference found under medical quality measures on U.S. News’ nursing home ratings is related to rehabilitation. Nursing Home Compare does not have a specific rehabilitation quality measure, while U.S. News and World Report evaluates the percentage of patients receiving “ultra high” and “very high” levels of rehabilitation within just 10 minutes of the government stipulated minimum. This gives the public a better idea of which nursing homes are putting more emphasis on patient rehabilitation vs. just completing rehabilitation therapies to meet Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement requirements.
As nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys, we encourage you to use both CMS’ Nursing Home Compare and U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing Homes when searching for the best place for a loved one. However, while data helps paint a picture of how a nursing home operates, there is still no better way to get a feel for a nursing home’s quality than to visit, talk to current residents and their loved ones, and once admitted and if possible, talking to your own loved one about their care there.
Levin & Perconti: Proven Results
We are Levin & Perconti, a Chicago, Illinois personal injury firm. We were one of the first firms in the nation to focus on the health and well-being of elders in nursing homes and have recovered over half a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. If you suspect abuse or neglect of your loved one in a nursing home, please contact us now for a FREE consultation. Toll-free 1-877-374-1417, in Chicago 312-332-2872 or by completing our online case evaluation form.