The New Year often conjures up lofty resolutions meant to get you on the right track, whether it be to lose weight or quit smoking. This coming year, California is putting forth its own new effort to improve its health by advancing nursing home safety through requiring publicly posted ratings. The first state to do so in the United States, California will begin grading nursing homes on a five-star system, created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which ranks a skilled-nursing home’s quality of care. According to this article, the system has existed for two years, but now all ratings will be posted for the public to view in nursing homes.
California is home to approximately 1,200 federally rated nursing home, representing the most homes in the country. 187 made the top 5-star ranking, while 195 met Medicare’s minimum requirement of one star equaling below average care. I hope the rating system encourages nursing homes to boost their safety ratings, in order to lessen the chances of elder abuse. The population is gradually becoming saturated with people over the age of 65, so the importance of maintaining high quality care will grow. I hope other states will follow suit to improve their nursing home care standards.