Nursing Home Compare will now offer more data on the facilities it lists as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks to increase transparency in data sharing to improve the health system.
The revamped website now includes narratives that detail specific findings from inspections of nursing home facilities, along with two new measures that report a nursing home’s use of antipsychotic medications, and updated data for quality measures that had already been available on the site. Additionally, facility ownership information will be listed with the legal business names of nursing homes, as well as information on physical therapist staffing levels.
“These new updates to the Hospital and the Nursing Home Compare websites are the next stage of transparently sharing data to drive improvement in our health system,” said Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for CMS, in a statement.
Data for quality measures will include the percentage of nursing home residents who report having moderate to severe pain while staying at that facility. The website will also allow consumers to compare nursing homes that are not part of the Medicare program, says Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
These are positive developments, says Greg Crist, vice president of public policy for nursing home trade group the American Health Care Association (AHCA).
“Any time you can share information that allows our centers to adapt, innovate and improve, those are important steps forward,” he says. “After all, without information and feedback, we can’t improve at a level we all need and want.”
He says that AHCA is “particularly proud” of how Nursing Home Compare and the Five Star ratings data has recently revealed more 5-star facilities and fewer 1-star facilities.
“That shows our quality efforts are improving, every day,” says Crist. “We’re hoping by the end of this year, with our enhanced focus on use of anti-psychotics and reducing those off-label uses, we can see even greater improvements in the lives of our residents. We’re excited about the future in this quality space.”
Still, he says, the best indicator of the right “fit” for residents and families is to actually visit the facility themselves, and to see them firsthand.
The first half of 2012 brought about 500,000 visitors to Nursing Home Compare, says CMS, adding that the tool is “highly popular” with patients, their families, and caregivers.
Written by Alyssa Gerace