Medicare Star Ratings may not be what they seem

I came across this in-depth article in the New York Times recently and while it carries a very serious tone, I thought it best to share it with all of you. Two particular paragraphs immediately stood out, urging me to recommend this piece despite its length. Below are two snippets from the article, along with the link where you can read more.

“The Medicare ratings, which have become the gold standard across the industry, are based in large part on self-reported data by the nursing homes that the government does not verify. Only one of the three criteria used to determine the star ratings — the results of annual health inspections — relies on assessments from independent reviewers. The other measures — staff levels and quality statistics — are reported by the nursing homes and accepted by Medicare, with limited exceptions, at face value.

The ratings also do not take into account entire sets of potentially negative information, including fines and other enforcement actions by state, rather than federal, authorities, as well as complaints filed by consumers with state agencies. Last year, the State of California, for example, fined Rosewood $100,000 — the highest penalty possible — for causing the 2006 death of a woman who was given an overdose of a powerful blood thinner.”

If this information has piqued your curiosity as much as it had mine, you may read further at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25/business/medicare-star-ratings-allow-nursing-homes-to-game-the-system.html

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