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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   November 12, 2002

 

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner or Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160


Web-Based Nursing Home Report Card Linked
Ten Federal Quality Measures Added

TRENTON - New Jersey's web-based nursing home report card now includes additional quality measures to help consumers shopping for long-term care make better informed decisions.

The New Jersey Report Card for Nursing Homes, an inspection-driven rating system of nursing homes launched in 1999 and accessible at www.state.nj.us/health/ltc, has added a link to a new federal database through which consumers can compare nursing homes to each other and to the state average in ten specific quality areas.

"These two resources, our report card and the federal database, take comprehensive information about nursing home quality and care measures from inspection reports and resident assessments and convey it in a format that is easy for consumers to understand and utilize," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

The new database, developed and maintained by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) utilizing information reported by nursing homes, shows the percentage of long-stay residents who need increased help with daily activities or who have infections, bed sores, are in pain or require physical restraints. The report also shows the percentage of short-stay residents with delirium or pain, as well as the proportion who improve their ability to walk while in the facility.

Noting that The New Jersey Report Card for Nursing Homes receives an average of 6,000 web-hits each month, Dr. Lacy said, "Information on nursing home quality is very important to consumers, but is equally valuable for nursing home administrators and staff."

Dr. Lacy said the Department of Health and Senior Services has joined with the Peer Review Organization of New Jersey (PRONJ), nursing home industry representatives and others to seek ways to improve nursing home performance in the 10 quality measures included in the CMS database. PRONJ will recruit up to 50 nursing homes willing to volunteer to be part of a three-year study to determine which care strategies result in improved outcomes for residents. These best practices will then be shared with nursing home providers statewide.


The information contained in the CMS database and on the Department of Health and Senior Services report card gives consumers two complementary, yet distinct, on-line references measuring the quality of care in New Jersey nursing homes.

The CMS database posts percentages for each nursing home for ten selected quality measures, allowing consumers to compare information regarding nursing homes they might be considering, as well as to the statewide average. This database relies on data collected during facility inspections and information reported by nursing homes to CMS every time a resident assessment is completed. For their on-line report, CMS risk-adjusted the data to take into account individual resident differences in vulnerability for certain health outcomes.

In The New Jersey Report Card for Nursing Homes, nursing homes receive scores based on the results of standard surveys and complaint investigations conducted during the previous 24 months. The report applies a weighted scoring system that reflects the scope and severity of deficiencies found during inspection visits. The report card uses inspection data to measure and compare nursing home compliance with 50 specific federal quality standards in the areas of nursing care, resident rights, food services, environment and administration. These criteria represent key indicators of quality of life and quality of care within nursing homes.

As with the CMS database, consumers using the Department's report card can compare nursing homes to each other and to the statewide average score. New Jersey has approximately 380 nursing homes caring for more than 55,000 state residents. The report includes data on the 360 nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid for payment.

Both the report card and the CMS database offer a snapshot of care and compliance with federal regulations. Individuals shopping for long-term care are strongly encouraged to visit the facilities they are considering and to discuss with administration any questions or concerns raised by facility scores in these reports. Consumers should also discuss their options with friends and family and consult physicians and other health care providers.

To view The New Jersey Report Card for Nursing Homes and the new quality measures posted by CMS, visit the Department's website at www.state.nj.us/health/ltc. Persons without Internet access can get printed information from the performance report or other areas of the long-term care database by calling the Department at 609-984-8177.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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