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AHCA Urges Congress To Delay CMS “Five-Star” Rating System  
 
AHCA Urges Congress To Delay CMS “Five-Star” Rating System
Collaboration Needed To Ensure Accurate Quality Index

Susan Feeney, 202-898-6333
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11/21/2008

Washington, DC – The American Health Care Association (AHCA) recently called on Congressional leaders to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the implementation of the Five Star nursing facility rating system, stressing that working together will be necessary to ensure the new quality index accurately represents the high-level care provided in our nation’s nearly 16,000 nursing facilities.

“A quality index based on the broken survey system does not give the public an accurate representation of the care our profession provides every day for millions of frail, elderly and disabled individuals,” state Bruce Yarwood, President & CEO of AHCA. “We, along with many Congressional leaders, want to ensure that the tools and resources measuring care in our nation’s nursing facilities provide accurate and timely information that will benefit the consumer. The dramatic inconsistency of our current survey system prevents it from being an accurate representation of actual care quality.” 

The nation’s largest long term care organization recently sent a letter to key Congressional leaders requesting that they urge CMS to analyze and delay the implementation of the Five Star rating system. The letter states, in part,

“The three primary components -  survey & certification results including complaint surveys, staffing data, and quality measures  - that will be used to rate nursing homes for the Five Star Program are flawed and do not provide useful information to the public. The survey process is broken and does not accurately reflect the care that is provided the residents/patients of nursing homes... self-reported staffing ratios from the Online Survey, Certification and Reporting (OSCAR) data network are known to include questionable data and may be unrepresentative of the entire year… [and] CMS’s measurement of quality relies on measures that do not adequately adjust for patient/resident acuity.”

“We urge our Congressional friends to recognize the need to work together with CMS and other willing partners to influence development of the program to create a system that is fair to facilities and appropriate for consumers,” Yarwood concluded. “The millions of patients and families who rely upon our nation’s nursing facilities every day for the long term care and services they need deserve accurate and useful data, instead of a flawed information that reaches an equally flawed conclusion.”

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 12,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.


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