Industry: Rating System Flawed continued...
Alice H. Hedt of the consumer group National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform says it will take time to evaluate how well the rating system reflects what is really going on in the nation's nursing homes.
She says consumers should definitely consult the star rating when evaluating a nursing home, but agreed that it should not be the only factor in choosing a home.
Hedt praised CMS for making previously hard-to-find information on nursing homes easily accessible.
"We encourage consumers to drill down into the information and find out what it says about inspections and staffing and quality measures," she tells WebMD.
She points out that all kinds of information is available, including the bed-sore rate and the rate of patient restraint at individual facilities.
"After I looked at the overview, I would look specifically at [bed] sore rates and restraint rates," she says. "If either of these rates are high, that is an indicator that there is a problem."