If your staffing scores are a problem, they’ve just gotten a lot easier for the public to see.
As part of its “Best Nursing Homes 2018” release, U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) has introduced its inaugural version of “Nursing Home Finder,” an online tool for guiding consumer decisions on which post-acute services to choose. But, the way the information is arranged will make it much more difficult for providers to mask a poorer short-term rehabilitation score behind an excellent long-term skilled nursing score.
The tool, which launched Oct. 30, 2018, uses the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Nursing Home Compare site as its data source. Scores rely on the same three reporting categories used for the five-star ratings—health inspection results, staffing and quality measures—although USN&WR has developed its own method for calculating scores, according to the Nursing Home Finder methodology report.
Here’s the key difference: Instead of simply generating lists of top-ranking providers, the USN&WR tool divides out the data for long-term and short-term stays, whose scores often differ, especially in staffing and quality measures. The tool also calls out specific features such as the presence or absence of a dedicated memory care unit and the availability of a family and resident council.
By pulling out the short-stay data and presenting it separately, consumers will now see what nursing homes have always known: Excellence in skilled nursing care doesn’t always translate to the short-term rehabilitation wing and vice-versa.
Staffing ratios and staff skills mixes impact the overall score, as they always have in the CMS data reporting. While the CMS data has been public for years, any shortages or insufficiencies within the rehab and short-stay units will now be placed front and center on the USN&WR tool site.
Likewise, providers who receive excellent scores in both sectors of care have reason to trumpet the accomplishment in their marketing and recruitment campaigns—mainly because it’s an accolade that is much harder to achieve than it used to be.