California Nursing Homes Mandated to Post Five Star

The controversial Five Star nursing home rating system got more controversial as Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation requiring California nursing homes to post their rating effective January 1, 2011.

The Five-Star Quality Rating System, which was launched in December 2008, uses data from nursing home surveys, staffing rates, and 10 quality measures to calculate star ratings, ranging from one to five.

The new legislation requires nursing homes to post their overall star rating information in at least the following locations:

  • An area accessible and visible to the public
  • An area used for employee breaks
  • An area used by residents for communal functions and activities

The information must include the following:

  • The full name of the facility, in a clear and easy to read font of at least 28 point.
  • The full address of the facility, in a clear and easy to read font of at least 20 point.
  • The facility‰Ûªs most recent overall rating determined by CMS‰Ûª Five-Star Quality Rating System.

Many providers, associations, and other professionals in the long-term care industry are not thrilled that this legislation has passed.

The legislation also requires nursing homes to provide consumers with a detailed explanation of their rating as well as how to access this information on the Nursing Home Compare Web site. Failure to comply with the provisions of this legislation will result in a class B violation, the fines from which will be deposited into the State Health Facilities Citation Penalties Account.

2011 is a while away so who knows what will happen with this rating system by then. There is clearly two divisive camps around this issue. I am personally for more transparency. Until some one comes up with a better system then the public should be privy to what is available now and make their own conclusions. Not sure why the industry is up in arms as recent studies have shown that nursing home quality has been improving. Perhaps the quality has been improving, the quality of care that is. In terms of quality of life well that is a different story.