Nursing Homes to be Rated
The federal government, in an effort to better the quality of care imparted by nursing home, has brought out a newer method of online tool for consumers to evaluate the facilities provided by these nursing homes.
A pilot program will be started by the Center for Medicine and Medicaid Services, or CMS, this summer in this regards. The program encompasses providing cash incentives to the different nursing homes to improve the overall care, mainly in areas of preventable hospitalisation and nurse staffing, as provided by the nursing homes.
Last December, CMS started a unique method of ranking that depended on government inspection method, quality measures and staffing method. The method, called "Nursing Home Compare" can be accessed at medicare.gov / NHCompare which provides 16,000 nursing homes one to five stars gradation. One can see on the web the most-troubled nursing homes that are flagged by the agency, which now stands at 135.
Thomas Hamilton, the director of CMS group for survey and certification said that the agency is taking many firm steps to protect the nursing-home residents as well as stimulate to improve the working of various providers.
It needs mentioning here that there are needs of nursing-home care of three million Americans every year on an average, and the cost of care often gets costly. Unlike other health-care requirements, there are numerous elderly as well as disabled Americans who have to bear the cost of residing at nursing homes themselves. This is because either their high-income debar them from qualifying for Medicaid or else they fail to qualify for Medicaid coverage.
Limited Medicaid Coverage
Many seniors find it surprising by the limited coverage of Medicare for care at nursing-home: for a hospitalisation of three days or more, the coverage is up to 100 days.
According to an advocacy group for older Americans, AARP, to qualify for the coverage, the patient must get an order from the doctor to visit a nursing home for illnesses or injuries that required treatment at the hospital for such services like physical therapy or for IV injections.
The patient does not have to pay anything during the stay for the first 20 days at a nursing home, and after that period it is $133.50 a day while the full cost has to be paid after 100 days.
The Advocates suggest that it is important on the part of consumers to do their necessary homework before going for a nursing home, as there are wide differences of care. Their suggestion is that families, friends or the patients themselves should go to a nursing home and talk to the residents and look at the different facilities that are provided there.
To go about knowing about it better, the U.S. web site "Nursing Home Compare" is the right place to start. The site has detail information about nursing homes along with brief data from state as well as federal inspections as well as information that were reported by the nursing homes to the regulators.
However, the National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform which is an advocacy group has warned that there may by some errors in the data that are given by nursing homes to the web site.
The group also recommends that consumers must check with states as well as different sources that provide information on the facilities provided by the nursing homes.
CMS has urged consumers to check for updates that appear every month as nursing homes, with their high turnover rates, affect patient care.
The facilities which are most troubled are labelled as "Special Focus Facilities" by the government, a designation that is found in Nursing Home Compare.
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