Last month, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced stricter standards for nursing home ratings, which includes smaller windows for staffing penalties and new ratings for short-term and long-term stays.

What you need to know

CMS will get tougher on all three metrics that inform star ratings; survey, quality, and staffing.

However, staffing ratios, in particular, seem to be at the heart of the CMS rating overhaul; starting this week, CMS will automatically hand out one-star staffing ratings to buildings that have four or more days in a quarter with no registered nurse on site, down from the current seven-day standard.

This is likely in response to the New York Times’ investigation this past summer that exposed skilled nursing facilities for inaccurate reporting of nurse coverage in their buildings.

What’s happened so far

Recent changes have made it more difficult to achieve above average ratings.

The American Health Care Association noted that 36% of skilled nursing facilities have already experienced a drop in their overall star ratings since the plan took effect last Wednesday. 33% of those facilities lost at least one star based on their staffing standards. (For comparison, only about 15% of facilities actually earned a star as a result of the changes.)

What does this mean for my facility?

Ultimately, this initiative will make it harder for your facility to earn an above average rating. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that CMS is more serious than ever about making sure skilled nursing facilities operate to provide the highest level of quality care and that conditions are safe for both patient and caregiver.

With that said, your rating is still important, and you surely want to make sure it doesn’t drop.

So what can you do to maintain (or even improve) your rating?

In the words of CMS, staffing ratios aren’t a bad place to start if facilities are looking to improve quality. “Nurse staffing has the greatest impact on the quality of care nursing homes deliver, which is why CMS analyzed the relationship between staffing levels and outcomes,” the agency said in the statement that announced the new rules for the Five-Star Quality Rating System. “CMS found that as staffing levels increase, quality increases.”

Improving your staffing is no easy task, but luckily, you have a resource in us. If you’d like to have a conversation about how we can best suit your needs in light of these changes, let us know. We are here to help; we’d love to help tailor our services to meet your staffing needs.

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. Apply today to join the future of nursing.