Star ratings for nursing homes in Texas and around the country may change due to a new method of calculating staffing instituted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This could reduce the number of nursing homes with five-star ratings due to the strength of their staffing levels.
Losing a five-star rating
Estimates from various analytic firms indicated that between 10% and 16% of nursing homes that currently have a five-star rating could lose their fifth star. Not having the additional star doesn’t necessarily indicate a drop in quality under health care law but is a more accurate way of reflecting the reality of staffing levels at facilities.
The scoring changes that the public will see are expected to reflect:
- Turnover of registered nurses
- Overall nursing turner that includes licensed practical nurses
- Turnover of administrative staffers
- Weekend staffing levels
Even though a high staffing level generally means overall better care, high levels of turnover can often indicate dissatisfaction with the working environment. Ultimately, high turnover rates also affect the continuity of care as new staffers must constantly undergo training that could take away from patient outcomes.
Keeping employees happy in the current environment
Over the last several years, news reports have focused on how nursing homes have lost staff due to low wages, questionable working conditions, and little opportunity for advancement. Well-written employment contracts that offer nursing staff and other essential employees continuing education opportunities and guarantees for relief staff levels can help your operation retain good employees.
Ensuring proper staffing levels, as well as making sure your employees are happy, will also help keep a high continuum of care. If your facility’s star rating slips under the new guidelines, take it as an opportunity to see how you can improve your overall operations.