U.S. News Ranks Best Nursing Homes of 2014

U.S. News & World Report on Wednesday released its annual Best Nursing Homes 2014 list, which highlights the top nursing homes in every state and encompasses nearly 100 major metropolitan areas.

Around 25% of nursing homes considered for 2014’s list achieved a five-star rating, the highest given through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare program—a “sharp” increase from last year’s 19%, says U.S. News. A slightly larger share—26%—had four stars, the outlet found. No states had ratings declines.

“The rising number of five-star homes is encouraging,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor, in the Best Nursing Homes announcement. “It speaks to care that is steadily becoming more skilled and compassionate.”

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Nursing homes operated by non-profits were the most likely to have a five star rating, as more than 36% did, compared to almost 21% of those run by for-profits and 27% of government-run facilities.

“What has changed—what I hear from our members—is that people are using the five-star rating as an incentive for measuring performance,” David Gifford, senior vice-president for quality and regulatory affairs of nursing home trade group the American Health Care Association, told U.S. News. “It’s being written into employment contracts and bonus incentives.”

California has the most five-star nursing homes, according to U.S. News’ list, followed by Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Out of nearly 1,270 nursing homes in California, 416 (around 34%) received five stars in 2014 through CMS’ Five-Star Quality Rating System, up from 25% in 2013, says the California Association of Health Facilities, a nonprofit trade group for the nursing home industry.

“California skilled-nursing providers are justifiably proud of this exceptional achievement, which reflects a strong commitment to nationwide efforts to deliver the best possible care to the elderly people and others who count on long-term care,” said James Gomez, president and CEO, of CAHF in a statement.

In Florida, around 30% of nursing homes received five stars, while around 21% of Ohio nursing homes had five-star ratings.

U.S. News used data from Nursing Home Compare and awarded the “Best Nursing Homes” designation to skilled nursing facilities that recently earned five-star ratings from CMS.

The list, now in its sixth year, covers almost 16,000 nursing homes across the country and is designed to help consumers with the process of finding a facility.

However, the list should not be the sole method for choosing a facility, said Gomez.

“These rankings are not a silver bullet for individuals needing skilled-nursing care,” he said. “Selecting the right care is a decision that is too important to base solely on one measure.”

Access the list of Best Nursing Homes by state, or click here for more detailed information.

Written by Alyssa Gerace