LeadingAge responds to concerns about reported staffing issues

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Aug. 14 wrote a letter to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), addressing concerns over the new system of reporting staffing levels in nursing homes and the impact on the Five Star rating system.

The LeadingAge policy team is in communications with Sen. Wyden to meet with him on this issue. Additionally, LeadingAge sent a letter to CMS and a statement to the press regarding Sen. Wyden’s letter.

In the letter to CMS, LeadingAge points out that while current CMS policy provides procedures for nursing homes to correct their data, lower posted staffing levels result in a nursing home’s loss of one star on its overall Five Star rating, regardless of whether the mistake was made by the nursing home or by CMS. The nursing home does not regain the star until the next quarterly posting period. This means that current and potential residents and their families may be given a false impression of a nursing home whose rating has been lowered due to a problem with payroll-based journal posting.

LeadingAge has argued that adjusting a nursing home’s Five Star rating would be consistent with the system’s purpose of providing transparent, accurate information and urged CMS to consider this change in current CMS policy.