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What a CMS 5-Star Rating Means for Your Quality of Care

happy senior lady smiling with a male healthcare worker

What started as a way to rate hotels in 1907 is now a large part of how we pick products and services. Today, restaurants, movies, books and more are all given a star rating to help you quickly judge the quality of various products. That’s part of the reason why the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) came up with a nursing home star rating system in 2008.

This system applies to free-standing nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and health care centers within senior living communities that offer skilled nursing and rehabilitation. It’s designed to help seniors and their families easily know where communities rank in comparison to each other; this can help them pick the right skilled nursing facility or senior rehabilitation center for their needs.

But what does a CMS 5-Star rating mean and why is it important? Here’s the criteria used to determine ratings and show you the benefits of choosing a senior living community that has an on-site health care center with a CMS 5-Star rating.

The Rarity of 5 Stars

A lot of research and community visits go into each rating. After careful evaluation, a nursing home is given an overall rating between 1 and 5 stars. A community that receives a 5-Star rating is considered to be much above average quality. A community that receives a 1-Star rating is considered to be much below average. In Florida, only the top 10% earn a 5-Star rating. The bottom 20% receive 1-Star ratings, and the middle 70% are divided into three sections of 23.33% and awarded either a 2-, 3- or 4-Star rating.

Of the 63 communities in our area eligible to receive a star rating, only 12 received a CMS 5-Star rating. We’re very proud to say that skilled nursing at Freedom Plaza was one of the communities that received the highest possible rating.

Determining Star Ratings?

The overall 5-Star rating for each senior care community is composed of separate ratings in these three areas:

Health inspections: This rating contains the three most recent health inspections and investigations due to complaints. All information is gathered by trained, objective inspectors who go on-site and follow a specific process to determine the extent to which a community has met Medicare and Medicaid’s minimum quality requirements. The most recent survey findings are given more weight than survey findings from the previous year.

Staffing: This rating is determined using staffing data and includes the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day by nursing staff. This rating takes into account the differences in the levels/amount of care residents need. For example, a community with residents who have more severe needs would be expected to have more nursing staff than a nursing home where the resident needs aren’t as high.

Quality Measures (QMs): These encompass information on 15 different physical and clinical measures for residents. The QMs offer information about how well a community is caring for their resident’s physical and clinical needs.

Making a 5-Star Decision

If you’re looking for a long-term care or rehabilitation center with a CMS 5-Star rating in the Tampa or St. Petersburg area, Freedom Plaza is an excellent place to start your search. Our Life Plan Community, nestled on 140 acres of landscaped grounds, offers an engaging and fulfilling lifestyle backed by the financial predictability of Life Care. Here you can live with peace of mind, knowing we also offer a full continuum of on-site care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. To learn more about what makes us a 5-Star community, use our Community Assistant chat feature or contact us here.