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Congressional Committee Calls for Review Of CMS’ Questionable Five Star Nursing Home Rating System  
Congressional Committee Calls for Review Of CMS’ Questionable Five Star Nursing Home Rating System
Katherine Lehman


Washington, DC – Emphasizing the need to revise the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS’) current Five Star Quality Nursing System, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) today praised the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce for requesting a thorough review and study of the entire Five Star program.

“We praise Chairman Waxman, Ranking Member Barton, and the other members of the Committee for recognizing that an index which is based on flawed data cannot provide consumers with the accurate, timely information they need to assess the quality of a facility,” state Bruce Yarwood,  President and CEO of AHCA. “We are grateful that they strive to provide consumers an accurate representation of the care our profession provides every day for millions of frail, elderly and disabled individuals.”

In a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce requested that the GAO conduct a comprehensive evaluation of Five Star, focusing on  the process used by CMS to develop the system, steps CMS takes to ensure the reliability of the data; the weighting of the calculated ratings, and steps taken by CMS to ensure the reliability of the data used to calculate the ratings, including actions to provide more dependable staffing data.

Yarwood concurred with another aspect of the system that the Committee felt demands review, the addition of consumer satisfaction. “Today’s survey system does not specifically measure quality – it assesses compliance with federal and state regulations. While the survey system is not unimportant, we believe that customer satisfaction – and how a resident and family members judge the actual care being provided in a particular facility – is a superior indicator of the quality of care and quality of life experienced by residents,” Yarwood stated.

“We agree with the Members of the House Committee that a GAO study will help ensure that the appropriate information that truly reflects the quality of nursing home care is available for all consumers,” Yarwood concluded. “A study of this type will hopefully encourage CMS to revise the current the system to create one that provides clearly articulated information that is timely, reflects quality outcomes and, by design, is more helpful to consumers.”

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,000 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 or