Revised Rating System of Nursing Homes Causes Local Facilities’ Ratings to Fall

Elderly person in a wheelchair being neglected in a nursing home.

Local nursing homes in both Dutchess and Orange County now hold lower quality ratings, according to Medicare’s five-star rating system. Medicare has long rated nursing homes across the country on a five-star scale by following a certain rubric which bases the rating on three measures: health inspections, quality measures, and staffing. “Quality measures” account for information regarding the level of care and attention each resident receives, looking at factors such as how much weight residents have lost since moving into the facility, how many report that they are in moderate to severe pain, how many now need more assistance for daily activities than before they moved into the facility, and what percentage of the residents possess pressure ulcers (also known as “bed sores”).

Changes to the Former Nursing Home Rating System

Under the former rating system, many visitors to highly-rated nursing homes found that they seemed to experience a level of care beneath that indicated by the star rating the facility was assigned. As a result, the evaluation system was redrafted to make facilities provide a higher level of care and staffing to their residents in order to achieve a five-star rating. The largest single change to the rating system is that Medicare now measures how many residents in each nursing home have been prescribed an antipsychotic medication, and uses that number as one of the eleven measures it uses to calculate the quality measures portion. Medicare also increased the number of overall points required to achieve a quality measures score of two stars or more, and increased the requirement to achieve a four-star rating on the staffing measure. Prior to the reevaluated measures, 70% of the nursing homes in New York State scored a star rating of four or above. Now, approximately 50% of nursing homes have four or five stars.

Nursing Homes in Dutchess County with Drop in Ratings

One example of a facility that saw a stark drop in its star rating is Elant at Fishkill, in Beacon. In 2014, the home had a four-star rating. Upon reassessment under the revised measures, that rating fell to two stars. The facility initially received only one of five stars for its quality measures, and has ratings that are worse than the national average on such measures as the percentage of residents who have pressure ulcers and who received an antipsychotic medication. Another facility that saw its rating fall was River Valley Care Center of Poughkeepsie, which went from having a two-star rating to only one star. That facility, among other issues, received a low rating on its health inspection, having been found to possess 18 deficiencies during its health inspection, as compared to the statewide average of 5.3 deficiencies found per nursing facility.

Nursing Home Negligence

Residents of New York State nursing homes are entitled to a certain level of care under state law. If you or a loved one have experienced a diminished level of care or, worse yet, have been abused while under the care of a nursing facility, compassionate legal help is available. Contact the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan for a free consultation on your potential claims by calling (845) 338-8884. Our attorneys are available throughout Kingston, Ulster, Poughkeepsie, and the larger Hudson Valley area to assist with nursing home abuse claims.