McKnight’s Articles

Five-Star is Anything but Frozen

Somewhere between basking in the joy of a meaningful Thanksgiving Day celebration and contemplating the merits of an elasticized waistband for the holidays, you read the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services memo (Ref: S&C 18-04-NH) regarding changes to the survey process, Nursing Home Compare and Five-Star.

The day after Thanksgiving, CMS further defined its intensions with the Five-Star Quality Rating System; more specifically how the new survey process and derivative data will be used in its calculation of the Health Inspection domain.

Over the past several months, words like “frozen” and “held constant” have been used to describe the Five-Star Health Inspection domain in response to the new survey process, which began less than a month ago (Nov. 28, 2017). However, prior to this memo, we hadn’t heard much about what appears to be a separate concept: a change in methodology.

Let’s go a little deeper into the concepts of “frozen” and the new “methodological change.” Frozen or held constant does not mean that your Health Inspection domain is not going to be recalculated. In January, your Five-Star Health Inspection domain will be refitted to reflect the most recent state benchmarks and recalculated if any new survey and complaint data for events dated prior to Nov 28 have processed.

What is frozen is survey data reflecting events post-Nov. 28,, 2017. These new data are going into the freezer and CMS will later determine when they will set it on the counter to thaw.

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