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AAHSA Statement on CMS Five-Star Rating System for Nursing Homes

Thursday, December 18, 2008 General News J E 4
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From Larry Minnix, president & CEO



WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement was delivered by Larry Minnix, President and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging:



AAHSA believes there should be two types of nursing homes: the excellent and the non-existent. Quality should be an automatic public expectation.



The five-star rating system is a great idea prematurely implemented. We support a consumer-friendly nursing home rating system based on reliable quality information that the public can understand. But what is being launched tomorrow is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and ham-handedly rolled out.



Together, government and providers must be responsible, transparent and accountable for taking care of vulnerable seniors. CMS has key responsibility for defining, measuring and overseeing quality. Data provided by the government must be accurate, reliable, timely, and friendly.



The rating system is based on three pillars: clinical measures, staffing levels and inspection reports. The staffing component is a snapshot and requires much immediate work because staffing is the best proxy for quality. Inspection data is inconsistent.



What needs to be improved about the Five-Star Rating system is:





CMS and providers need to provide guidance to consumers on other factors like using a five-senses test when visiting a nursing home, relying on community reputation, observation of staff-resident interactions and availability of senior management to address resident and family concerns.



About AAHSA



The members of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (http://www.aahsa.org) help millions of individuals and their families every day through mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations dedicated to providing the services that people need, when they need them, in the place they call home. Our 5,800 member organizations, many of which have served their communities for generations, offer the continuum of aging services: adult day services, home health, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes. AAHSA's commitment is to create the future of aging services through quality people can trust.



-- Immediate development of a data collection tool around staffing. -- Coordination of the rating system with the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign. -- Overhaul of the survey and certification system with funding provided for a new system. -- Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement that flows through directly for caregiving. The dollars follow the caregiver should be the mantra.

SOURCE American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
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