Using records at the national Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), US News & World Report has compiled a state-by-state ranking of nursing homes. Most nursing homes receive Medicare or Medicaid funds, and for those that do, CMS establishes standards and has the power to enforce them.
How Nursing Homes are Rated
CMS assigns a five-star rating for nursing homes, based on three categories:
- State-conducted health inspections – States conduct health inspections at nursing homes every 12-15 months. These inspections look at food safety, infection control, medication management, and quality of life. An overall rating is assigned, based on the total number and scope of any deficiencies found.
- Nursing and physical therapy staffing – For this category, an average time of daily nursing attention is calculated. This figure is based on the number of residents and the total number of nurses on payroll. Nursing staff measured include RNs, LPNs, licensed vocational nurses, and certified nurse aides. Physical therapy time is also now calculated.
- Quality of medical care – This rating is based on looking at a number of quality indicators. They include factors like the number of patients having urinary tract infections and the amount who were physically restrained.
The rating in each of the above three areas is then combined to produce one overall rating of one to five for each nursing home.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emphasize that the ratings should only be a starting point to find the right fit. CMS stresses that families should always visit the homes themselves, and look for how residents and staff interact. They caution that families shouldn’t transfer a family member to a facility with a higher rating just because it has a higher rating, without factoring in other issues, including the ability of the resident to adjust.
Ranking Kentucky Nursing Homes
US News & World Report compiled the CMS nursing home data and created a database that can be searched by state. The rankings for Kentucky can be found here. About 12 percent of all nursing homes in Kentucky earned an overall five-star rating.
Medicare and Medicaid don’t apply to the costs of assisted living or other retirement communities, so those facilities are not ranked.