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Assemblymen Smyth and Feuer push for posted grades in nursing homes

Posted: February 3, 2009 12:22 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2009 12:22 p.m.
 

SACRAMENTO - Today Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) introduced Assembly Bill 215, bipartisan legislation to require long-term health care facilities to post the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) star rating in a visible, public location.

The postings would be similar in style to restaurant facility grades in several California counties.

"Posting nursing home grades is crucial to ensuring our loved ones receive the high quality of care they deserve," said Feuer. "This legislation will give families valuable information, and provide an additional incentive to facilities to achieve the highest standards."

"The amount of information available to those who are seeking long-term care can be overwhelming to the average consumer. It's important that we take steps to eliminate unnecessary confusion in an already difficult and emotional process," said Smyth.

Overall federal CMS ratings are based on health inspection results, staffing levels, and quality measures in facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid. Each of these factors is assigned a star rating, and these ratings are combined to form the overall star rating, with one star as the lowest rating and five stars as the highest possible rating. Currently, the public can access the ratings, along with detailed explanations, on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website (www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/home.asp). A posted rating in a conspicuous location would provide more information to patients, residents, and visitors to nursing homes who are unaware of the ratings or who have limited internet access.

On January 13, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to request that the Governor and the Department of Public Health implement a requirement that nursing homes post their CMS Five Star rating in a prominent location in plain view. AB 215 would codify this request.

"It is our responsibility to help protect our seniors, who are among the most vulnerable in our society - and help families make informed decisions about where to place their loved ones when they need residential care - before they make this vital decision," said Antonovich. "Much like Los Angeles County's restaurant grading system, we are informing families, and by informing families we are protecting them and their loved ones."

Assemblymember Smyth was elected to the State Assembly to represent the 38th Assembly District, which includes parts of Los Angeles, Glendale, Santa Clarita and Simi Valley.

Assemblymember Feuer was elected to the State Assembly to represent the 42nd Assembly District, which includes all or part of the Los Angeles communities of Sherman Oaks, Studio City, North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Toluca Lake, Universal City, Griffith Park, Brentwood, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Beverly Glen, Westwood, Century City, Hollywood, Fairfax, Hancock Park, Los Feliz, as well as the Cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

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