KCUR News
11:58 pm
Thu December 18, 2008

Local Nursing Homes Receive Medicare Ratings

Kansas City, MO – Half of the some 80 nursing homes in the Kansas City area are considered to be far below average. That's based on a new rating system that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid launched yesterday. KCUR's Elana Gordon reports.

About 20 percent of the 16,000 nursing homes nationwide got the lowest rating, but in Kansas City and the surrounding 25 miles, half of all nursing homes got the lowest score and none got the highest. Denise Clemonds is head of the Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging. She says the rating system is a useful tool, but that a lot of important information is left out.

Clemonds:"Nothing replaces an actual onsite visit - talking with physicians, talking with other members in the community that have utilized services at the nursing home.

Clemonds also says the ratings don't take into account key measures, like consumer satisfaction and the availability of specialty care. Medicare officials say they hope the new online rating system will serve as guide for families and that it will also encourage nursing homes to continually improve their quality of care.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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