One Fifth of Nursing Homes in Pennsylvania and Nation Get Low Medicare Ratings


February 19, 2010

Our Philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers believe independent rankings are one of the best ways for families to begin their searches for a safe and caring nursing home. So we were dismayed by a Jan. 27 USA Today article showing that about a fifth of nursing homes have consistently received poor ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The poorly rated homes are in every state and the District of Columbia, the newspaper said, and a quarter of a million people live in them. Perhaps most significantly, the report said almost all of the poorly rated homes were owned by for-profit companies.

The Medicare ratings began in 2008, so there are only two years of data to compare, the article said. But in those two years, about a fifth have consistently scored one or two stars on a five-star scale. The ratings are calculated from inspection reports, complaints from patients and families, health and safety violations and more. The lowest-rated homes had an average of 14 problems per home. Medicare spokespeople said the overall ratings have already improved in the past year and may continue to improve in future years, as homes continue trying to improve.

As Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorneys, we agree that two years isn't much time to improve a rating. But this ignores the question of how those homes came to be poorly rated in the first place. No doubt many homes existed for years or decades before the Medicare ratings started in 2008 -- and so did their problems. Trying to improve now is still a good thing, but it also implies that long-term, difficult-to-solve problems may continue to plague them. We would advise clients to research this very carefully before placing a loved one in such a home.

Rosenbaum & Associates represents families throughout Pennsylvania that suffered serious injuries or the death of a loved one at the hands of an unsafe nursing home. To learn more about us and tell us about your case, please call us toll-free at 1-800-7-LEGAL-7 or contact us through the Internet today.