U.S. News & World Report 2016-17 Nursing Home Finder

Written by:  Avery Comarow, Anna George, M.A., and Ben Harder

U.S. News & World Report’s “Nursing Home Finder” is the sole and exclusive property of U.S. News & World Report, L.P., which owns all rights, including but not limited to copyright, in and to the attached data and material. Any party wishing to cite, reference, publish or otherwise disclose the information contained herein may do so only with the prior written consent of U.S. News. Any U.S. News-approved reference or citation must identify the source as “U.S. News & World Report’s Nursing Home Finder” and must include the following credit line: “Copyright © 2016 U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Data reprinted with permission from U.S. News.” For permission to cite or use, contact permissions@usnews.com.

Background
The U.S. News & World Report Nursing Home Finder is a decision tool intended to help consumers in search of a residential facility for themselves or a family member who needs temporary or long-term skilled nursing care.

That such a tool is needed is evidenced by the number of Americans who spend time in a nursing home, sometimes for just a few days while they rehabilitate from a hospital stay but often for years, until they die. On any given day, an estimated 1.4 million people reside in the nearly 16,000 nursing homes that operate in the U.S. Among those in the U.S. population who are 85 and older, 1 in 10 is a nursing-home resident.

Credible ratings can provide consumers with a good starting point for choosing a nursing home, but higher-rated homes are not always the best choice. In-depth visits are vital.

U.S. News began publishing online ratings of nursing homes in 2009. Until the current release, the tool reflected a snapshot of star ratings posted on Nursing Home Compare
( https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare ) , the consumer website administered by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS. CMS assigns an overall rating of one to five stars to nursing homes according to their performance in three areas, or domains – state-conducted health inspections, nurse staffing and medical quality measures. Homes also receive CMS star ratings in each domain.

2016-17 methodology changes and eligibility for ratings
Effective for 2016-17, U.S. News elected to modify the CMS ratings approach. This reflects a decision 1) to evaluate a nursing home’s performance over time, by averaging monthly data over a year, 2) to place more emphasis on strong performance in medical quality measures by capping overall star ratings of homes with a low rating in this domain and 3) to ensure that highly rated homes provided more than the required minimum of rehabilitation therapy to residents who were classified as having received high levels of rehabilitative services.

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