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A new, five-star system which helps consumers searching for a nursing home is scheduled to go online at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Nursing Home Compare Web site by the end of 2008. The ratings will be posted on the agency’s Nursing Home Compare Web site by the end of this year

The innovative new system rates America’s nursing homes by giving each a “star” rating similar to that used in the hospitality industry.

CMS hopes the system will provide patients and their families with an easy-to-understand assessment of nursing home quality, making meaningful distinctions between high performing and low performing homes.

The five-star rating system will mark the first time CMS has offered such a rating system for the fee-for-service or traditional Medicare program. Currently, through the Compare Web site, CMS assists beneficiaries and their families in making nursing home choices by providing information on individual quality-of-care measures, staffing and survey inspection information.

Information on patient and family satisfaction with services at a facility may also be added to Nursing Home Compare site. The “Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home,” a publication which includes information about the types of long-term care, local nursing home comparisons, and how to pay for nursing home care can also be found on the site.

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