CMS Nursing Home 5 Star Freeze Update

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provided LeadingAge with information that the 5-Star Health Inspection Rating freeze will be lifted soon and that there will some major changes in the process. Excerpts from the announcement:

The April 2019 changes include revisions to the inspection process, enhancement of new staffing information, and implementation of new quality measures. This includes a lifting of the ‘freeze’ on the health inspection ratings instituted in February 2018. Additionally, CMS intends to set higher thresholds and evidence-based standards for nursing homes’ staffing levels. Currently, facilities that report seven or more days in a quarter with no registered nurse onsite are automatically assigned a one-star staffing rating. In April 2019, the threshold for the number of days without an RN onsite in a quarter that triggers an automatic downgrade to one-star will be reduced from seven days to four days.

The April 2019 Nursing Home Compare Update will include measures of long-stay hospitalizations and emergency room transfers, and will remove duplicative and less meaningful measures. CMS will also establish separate quality ratings for short-stay and long-stay residents and revise the rating thresholds to better identify the differences in quality among nursing homes.   

To read the full CMS bulletin,click here​. More information will be available in the near future.