The Affordable Care Act (also referred to as Obamacare) has a lot of “hidden gems” for us folks in post-acute care. Besides the higher-profile mandates such as QAPI or Mandatory Corporate Compliance, one little-known treat is the requirement that mandates CMS to make a number of changes to the Nursing Home Compare website. For those of you not familiar with the site – the time has come!

CMS created the Nursing Home Compare website in 1998. This website is intended to give consumers information about nursing homes in their area and compare the different facilities to help them make an educated choice. While this website is constantly updated, including the unveiling of the Five-Star Quality Rating System in 2008, thanks to the ACA you can expect to see even more additions.

 

Transparency

The ACA would like to see greater transparency regarding who owns and manages facilities. That means that anyone having ownership interest or responsible for management of a facility will be identified on the site. The intention is that this information should be easily accessible to the consumer. While this posting is not a direct requirement of the ACA, CMS is developing scenarios in which this information would be posted.

 

Posting of Nursing Home Staffing Data

Beginning in June 2012, CMS implemented a pilot project to directly collect payroll data from the provider’s payroll system to calculate staff turnover and retention. Currently staffing information is based on information facilities provide CMS, but you can expect this information ultimately coming directly from payroll systems. Hmmm…not loving the government having direct access to my payroll system.

 

Creation of Standardized Complaint Form

There is a concern that it is not easy or consistent for the consumer to report complaints. So, no fear there will be a nice standardized and public place for the consumers to lodge their complaints and for any prospective families or residents to see!

 

Currently, the website is full of very valuable information that is critical for every provider to be familiar with. All your survey results, including your life safety survey, staffing ratios, Five-Star results and special focus status are found on the website. In addition, there is educational information for families and consumers. Bottom line — your “dirty laundry” is there for the world to see. Strong surveys and a better educated staff are more important than ever! Take advantage of the Care2Learn extensive library to educate your staff on the issues that are unique to your facility.

Remember, this is Nursing Home Compare, so you certainly want to use the opportunity to see how the competition is doing. Your prospective clients sure will!