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 New Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Data Now on Nursing Home Compare

How skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are rated on various quality indicators, like the rate of successful return to home or community from a SNF or the percentage of residents that develop pressure ulcers, is now available publicly on the Nursing Home Compare website.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the release of the SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP) data on Nursing Home Compare Oct. 24. According to a CMS fact sheet, the data can demonstrate how a SNF’s performance on SNF QRP quality measures compares to those of other SNFs, as well as to the national average. 

“These data can showcase a SNF’s ongoing commitment to quality, improving engagement and confidence among staff, residents, caregivers, families, and stakeholders,” the fact sheet says.

According to the fact sheet, the five SNF QRP indicators added to Nursing Home Compare are:

Assessment-based measures:

--Percent of residents or patients in a SNF that develop new or worsened pressure ulcers

--Percentage of residents or patients whose activities of daily living and thinking skills were assessed and related goals were included in their treatment plan

--Percentage of SNF patients who experience one or more falls with major injury during their SNF stay

 Claims-based measures:

--Medicare spending per beneficiary (MSPB) for patients in SNFs

--Rate of successful return to home or community from a SNF

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) says it supports including quality information on Nursing Home Compare and that the move will bring new challenges for both consumers using the website and long term and post-acute care providers.

“The challenge for consumers will be in completely understanding what a specific measure means in the context of how it will impact an individual patient,” says Lyn Bentley, vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at AHCA. Just as CMS’ Five-Star Quality Ratings can be helpful for consumers to review, “nothing can surpass visiting the nursing center and talking with the staff and residents to better assess if the center will meet the needs of the individual who will be moving in,” she says.

For providers, the challenge is being prepared to “tell their own story” related to the care it provides, its individual measures, and any types of “specialty” care provided.  “Quality measures don’t always provide an accurate picture of a center based on the primary population that is served,” says Bentley. 

For example, if a center specializes in care for long-stay residents, this can be emphasized to visitors and hospital discharge planners to show how the center stands out compared to competitors.  Alternatively, if the focus for the center is on post-acute care and particularly rehabilitation post-stroke, its story will focus on how staff are trained and how the care they provide is different from their competitors.

In addition, “Providers must know what their data represent,” says Bentley. “Don’t be caught off guard because a discharge planner or visitor knows more about your data than you do.”

Section 1899B(g)(1) of the Social Security Act requires CMS to provide for the public reporting of SNF provider performance on the quality measures and certain post-acute care providers, including SNFs, to report provider performance data on quality. The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act also requires CMS to report quality measure data publicly that is submitted by SNFs on certain quality measures.

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