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Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 7:50pm

Rating System for Nursing Homes Draws Criticism and Praise

A rating system for nursing homes has recently drawn both criticism and praise.

About half of the 359 nursing homes in Georgia have received just one or two stars in the five star ranking system by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The system, a website called
Nursing Home Compare, went online in December and bases its ratings on staffing numbers, state health inspections and quality measures, such as how well a nursing home treats patients. The website enables consumers to compare and contrast nursing homes.

The list is too subjective and inconsistent, especially since each state has a different inspection system, says Jon Howell, president of the Georgia Healthcare Association, which represents nursing homes in the state. Family satisfaction should factor in to the rankings, he says.

Consumer groups, meanwhile, praise the system for giving potential clients a new measure for determining which nursing home to select, but say it needs more teeth.

They say the website should include the number of patient deaths and violations at each nursing home.

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