There is always something new just waiting around the corner and sometimes you don’t know it’s there until you come face to face with it. As it happens, late last week, CMS quietly finalized the Nursing Home Compare overhaul by launching a planned consolidated site called Care Compare. The CMS press release from last week may be found here. This new site aggregates information about nursing homes, home health services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, dialysis providers, and hospitals. According to the press release, “With just one click, patients can find information that is easy to understand about doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care services instead of searching through multiple tools.” This new system will eventually replace the legacy systems like Nursing Home Compare.
CMS also indicated that, “By aggregating all eight of CMS’s quality tools into a single interface, patients can easily research different providers and facilities before they entrust themselves to their care,” And that, “Today’s launch of Care Compare is the next step in fulfilling our eMedicare promise. Our administration is committed to ensuring our tools are robust and beneficial to patients.” The new tool has been adapted for ease of use on tablets and smart phones.
That said, While CMS announced this pending change back in January, it is now live. In January CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, indicated that. “In the new, unified experience, patients will be able to easily find the information that is most important to help make health care decisions, like getting quality data by the type of health care provider,” In essence, the new platform is intended to assist Medicare beneficiaries in planning for the full continuum of care from start to finish by helping them make place of care choices based on the quality metrics for all types of providers.
According to CMS, “During a transition period, consumers and other stakeholders will be able to use the original eight compare tools while CMS continues to gather feedback and considers additional improvements to the tool,” Below is a screen shot of the new site. You may access Care Compare by clicking on the graphic below. Since this site will eventually replace Nursing Home Compare, it is important that you become familiar with this new resource.
Among the important reasons it is essential to become familiar with this site, remember that recent phase 2 conditions of participation implementation and the updated survey process added a survey tag F660 Discharge Planning Process. In appendix PP of the State Operations Manual, the interpretive guidelines related to Residents who will be discharged to another SNF/NF, HHA, IRF, or LTCH clearly indicate that, ” If a resident will be discharged to another SNF, an IRF, LTCH, or HHA, the facility must assist the resident in choosing an appropriate post-acute care provider that will meet the resident’s needs, goals, and preferences. Assisting the resident means the facility must compile available data on other appropriate post-acute care options to present to the resident. Information the facility must gather about potential receiving providers includes, but is not limited to: • Publicly available standardized quality information, as reflected in specific quality measures, such as the CMS Nursing Home Compare, Home Health Compare, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) Compare, and Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Compare websites, Care compare will now be the go to resource for this requirement.