Despite ongoing concern and cautioning from the long term care community, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) rolled out their new "Five-Star" Quality Rating System. AHCA believes that the index, which is based on the broken survey system, is a forced simplification of an overly complex formula. Despite our urging, CMS declined to provide their methodology of the ratings or specific facility ratings to AHCA or our State Affiliates in advance of the December 18th launch – even though CMS had already provided that data to the media.
In many meetings and conference calls with CMS, AHCA has expressed great concern regarding the design and methodology of Five-Star, specifically that it is based on the flawed survey system, it provides little useful information for the consumer, and may confound the already difficult decision of which facility best serves the consumer’s needs. Additionally, the staffing ratings are built on the findings of a study completed eight years ago – one that does not take into account the adoption of culture change within long term care (e.g., where a facility has trained all staff within a facility to serve as CNAs) nor the significant shifts in the health care market overall.
As requested by AHCA, CMS has posted its Five-Star Technical Users’ Guide, as well as state and facility rankings. In order to best serve our members regarding 5 Star, AHCA has developed Five-Star specific talking points, general quality talking points, and a "myths and realities" guide that may be helpful when speaking to residents and family members or local media regarding this new rating system and/or a facility’s specific star ratings. For more information, please contact Lyn Bentley.