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CMS’ Five Star Nursing Home Rating System Called Into Question Once Again  
 
CMS’ Five Star Nursing Home Rating System Called Into Question Once Again
31 Attorneys General Call System ‘Misleading’ and Urge Its Suspension

Katherine Lehman
202-898-2816
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8/27/2009

Washington, DC – The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today applauded thirty-one state Attorneys General for sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling for the suspension and revision of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS’) Nursing Home Five Star Rating System. 

According to the letter, the rating system, which was launched at the end of the last Administration, “…can be misleading and create significant confusion for seniors.” 

“The long term care community is grateful for the dedication of the Attorneys General to provide consumers an accurate representation of the care our profession provides every day for millions of frail, elderly and disabled individuals,” stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. “We praise the leadership of Martha Coakley (D), Attorney General of Massachusetts, and William Mims (R), Attorney General of Virginia for championing of the use of fair and precise data in assessing quality in nursing homes for consumer use and for requesting a temporary suspension and revision to the existing Five-Star ratings system.”

In part, the letter to Secretary Sebelius also states:

In the interest of consumers as well as providers, we believe it imperative that the current Five Star System be suspended temporarily and revised using a more appropriate criterion-reference evaluation methodology. Fortunately, CMS’ Nursing Home Compare System that was in place before Five Star remains available to consumers as a tool for nursing home selection during what should be a short revision process.

With a  desire to bring about a better system, Yarwood stated, “In order to revise the system to create one that provides clearly articulated information that is timely, reflects quality outcomes and, by design,  is more helpful to consumers, AHCA looks forward to working with Secretary Sebelius, CMS and other concerned advocates including state Attorneys General.”

“The fact that these thirty-one state leaders, who are dedicated to protecting consumers, came together to highlight weaknesses of the current Five Star system speaks volumes about the weaknesses in a system that was developed to aid consumers.” Concluded Yarwood, “We join these Attorneys General in urging Secretary Sebelius to re-evaluate CMS’ scoring and ratings criteria to ensure that appropriate information that truly reflects the quality of nursing home care is available for all consumers.”

The Attorneys General who sent the letter represent the following states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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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