A new tougher grading system for nursing homes in Maryland will be starting immediately as the federal government is making it harder for the homes to get “top grades on a public report card.” There will now be increased scrutiny of the use of antipsychotic drugs and the bar will be raised on an array of quality measures. The new grading system will rank nursing homes using one- to five-star ratings that will be available on the government website, Nursing Home Compare, starting February 20. The old rating system “relied too heavily on self-reported data and allow[ed] a majority of homes to score high ratings.”
The Nursing Home Compare website rates more than 15,000 nursing homes using three categories: government inspections, quality measures, and staffing levels. Using those categories, an overall score is compiled. Of the 15,000 nursing homes listed, 228 of them are located in Maryland, and 135 have four-star ratings (“above average”) or five-star ratings (“much above average”). In fact, close to 35% of all Maryland nursing homes have a five-star rating, which accounts for 81 of 228 homes. Unfortunately, there are 12 Maryland nursing homes that have a one-star rating.
Some nursing home officials are criticizing this new system because some highly rated nursing homes are facing fines and other enforcement actions. The federal government simply wants to hold nursing homes to a higher standard by making it more difficult to get four- and five-star ratings. One of the biggest factors making up high scores are the amount of injuries residents develop while living in a nursing home. This new system will also now keep track of the number of residents given unnecessary antipsychotic drugs to make it easier for nurses and staff to manage them. As a result of these changes, many nursing homes’ ratings could drop a star or more.
While implementing a new rating system might confuse consumers looking at nursing homes, many officials in the industry believe this was a necessary change because more information is always better. In the old system, very little information was collected and high ratings were too easy to achieve.
Nursing homes are supposed to be places where people who need care but don't need to be in a hospital can live out their golden years with dignity. Unfortunately, when nursing homes and their staff members are negligent or abusive, the results can be tragic. Our Maryland nursing home negligence lawyers pursue justice for families who have had a loved one injured due to:
- Withholding food and water
- Medication errors
- Poor toilet and bathing facilities
- Inadequate grooming
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
If your loved one has been injured due to nursing home abuse or neglect, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Portner & Shure can help you protect his or her rights. Call us today for a free case evaluation at (855) 954-4141 or visit us online.