U.S. News & World Report Names Best Nursing Homes for 2018-19

October 31, 2018

WASHINGTON–U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in health care rankings, has identified the Best Nursing Homes for 2018-19 and released its new Nursing Home Finder. To create these free and easy-to-use resources, U.S. News evaluated more than 15,000 homes nationwide, in every state and nearly 100 major metropolitan areas. This year, 2,975 nursing homes earned the designation of a U.S. News Best Nursing Home.

“Several million Americans will spend at least some time in a nursing home this year, whether undergoing rehab after a hospital stay or as long-term residents,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. “Finding a nursing home that meets an individual’s specific needs can be overwhelming. The Best Nursing Home ratings are designed to help potential residents and their families navigate this important decision.”

Now in its ninth year, the U.S. News Nursing Home Finder offers comprehensive information about care, safety, health inspections, staffing and more for almost all nursing homes in the country. With this tool, individuals can easily conduct a customized search for a highly rated nursing home by location, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, Alzheimer’s care and size.

The Nursing Home Finder reflects U.S. News’s analysis of data collected and published by the federal government using a methodology defined by U.S. News. U.S. News’s nursing Home Finder is a tool for individuals and their families beginning their search for senior care and should be used in consultation with their medical professional.

For the 2018-19 ratings, U.S. News introduced a new and first of its kind Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating. This new rating aims to provide patients with a clearer view of the quality of care provided by nursing homes to short-stay patients in need of intensive rehabilitation or nursing services before they return home after a surgery, stroke, accident or illness. Out of nearly 13,000 nursing homes that were evaluated, 2,042 earned a High-Performing rating in Short-Stay Rehabilitation.

Since its inception in 2009, the U.S. News nursing home ratings have relied on data from Nursing Home Compare, a program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes. This year, due to CMS’ recent move from a self-reported to a payroll-based nurse staffing reporting and a freeze in health inspection data since November 2017, U.S. News modified the way it uses CMS data for evaluating a nursing home’s overall performance.

Significant updates for the 2018-19 Best Nursing Home Overall Rating include:

  • U.S. News changed its overall rating methodology to put more emphasis on staffing quality.
  • U.S. News used staffing data only from April 2018 onward.
  • U.S. News applied additional rating indicators of care that CMS doesn’t use in its own ratings – such as whether the amount of rehabilitation therapy provided was determined by reimbursement or by patient-centered needs.

“Every year we strive to improve upon the information we offer to caregivers making critical health care decisions for their loved ones,” says Ben Harder, chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “We understand that nurse staffing is among the most important predictors of nursing home quality. With our new methodology and Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating, we have taken several steps to ensure that nursing homes that consistently provide high quality care to residents are highlighted.”

For the 2018-19 ratings, 2,975 earned the Best Nursing Homes recognition by being rated High Performing in either the Short-Stay Rehabilitation or Overall ratings and at least Average in the other. Wisconsin has the highest number on the list, with 176 nursing homes that received either an overall or short-stay rehabilitation High-Performing rating. HawaiiMaineRhode Island, and Wyoming have the highest proportion of Best Nursing Homes, with half of all Medicare or Medicaid certified nursing homes in these states receiving a High-Performing designation.

In addition to helping families find the best nursing home for their loved one, U.S. News explains how to choose a senior care facility among the many options and how to understand the difference between for-profit and non-profit senior care options. Since many people searching online for nursing homes have a family member who needs assisted living, U.S. News also provides guidance on understanding the types of long-term care facilities and how to talk to a family member about assisted living.

For the full list, visit the Nursing Home Finder and use #BestNursingHomes on Facebook and Twitter.

U.S. News has updated the methodology used to evaluate nursing homes to ensure that the designation of Best Nursing Home is given only to those homes that demonstrate appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures. Homes needed to receive an overall score from CMS in July 2018 and a staffing rating in either April or July to be eligible for a U.S. News overall rating. Only homes rated high performing in either the overall or short-stay rehabilitation rating AND average or higher in the other rating received a Best Nursing Home designation.

The new Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating designates nursing homes as high-performing, average, or below average in the care they provide to patients staying at the facility for less than 100 days.

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