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Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Mislead Consumers

According to the New York Times, Rosewood Post-Acute Rehab, a nursing home in Sacramento bears all of the touches of a luxury hotel, including high ceilings, leather club chairs and paintings of landscapes.

What really sets Rosewood apart, however, is its five star rating from Medicare – the best possible rating.

An examination of the rating system by the New York Times has found that Rosewood and many other top-ranked nursing homes have been given a seal of approval that is based on incomplete information and that can seriously mislead consumers, investors and others about conditions at the homes.

The Medicare ratings, which have become the gold standard across the industry, are based in large part on self-reported data by the nursing homes that the government does not verify. Only one of the three criteria used to determine the star ratings — the results of annual health inspections — relies on assessments from independent reviewers. The other measures — staff levels and quality statistics — are reported by the nursing homes and accepted by Medicare, with limited exceptions, at face value.

From 2009 to 2013, California fielded 102 consumer complaints and reports of problems at Rosewood, according to a state website. California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which also tracks complaints, put the number even higher, at 164, which it says is twice the state average.

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The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.