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CMS Announces Two New Initiatives to Improve Care

Initiatives to affect Nursing Home Five Star Rating System and home health care

THURSDAY, Oct. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Two initiatives have been announced to help improve the quality of post-acute care in nursing homes and ensure safe delivery of quality care to home health patients, according to a report published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Starting in 2015, changes will be made to the Nursing Home Five Star Quality Rating System to help improve consumer information about the quality of individual nursing homes. These improvements will include nationwide focused survey inspections to enable better verification of both the staffing and quality measure information; payroll-based staffing reporting, which will increase accuracy and timeliness of data; additional quality measures; timely and complete inspection data; and improved scoring methodology.

In addition, Home Health Conditions of Participation have been proposed, which would improve the quality of home health services for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by strengthening patient rights and improving communication focused on patient well-being. The proposed regulation will modernize home health regulations for the first time since 1989, and includes elements such as expansion of patient rights requirements.

"We are focused on using as many tools as are available to promote quality improvement and better outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries," CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. "Whether it is the regulations that guide provider practices or the information we provide directly to consumers, our primary goal is improving outcomes."

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