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New Medicare Quality Initiative Announced by CMS

In a recent press release, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced two major new initiatives that seek to improve the quality of care for Medicare patients. Recently, there has been criticism regarding the rating system in place for nursing homes, which allows sub-par institutions to receive five-star ratings based largely on self-reported data. A CMS press release from early October reports that one of the two main initiatives is to improve the breadth and accuracy of the rating system. The other objective focuses on home healthcare.

The Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System will receive a number of improvements. Five additional quality measures will be included that are expected to evaluate re-hospitalization rates as well as community discharge rates. The first measure to be added on January 2015 will be data on the use of antipsychotic medications.

The CMS will also implement focused inspections in order to verify staffing and quality information that is included in the rating system. The survey will verify some data through payrolls, which should increase the accuracy of reporting and allow for the inclusion of more data, including staff retention and type of staffing.

The second initiative focuses on home healthcare provided to over 5 million Medicare and Medicaid patients. The regulations will be the first modernization of home health regulations since 1989. It will focus on patient-centered care to ensure that it is well coordinated and personalized. The regulation seeks to expand patient rights and better assess physical, mental, and emotional conditions in home care. There is also a push for a more data-driven assessment of quality.

Elder care is an area of medicine that is often criticized for negligent practices that fail to meet the standards of quality care set for other age group. If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact a Lopez McHugh attorney today at (877) 737-8525 or fill out a contact form on our website for a free initial consultation.