California has better nursing homes than any other state in the US . . . it has to be a joke right? The vaunted magazine US News &  World Report has just released their 2013 list of best nursing homes.  I was astonished to see that California led the way in having the most and highest percentage of highly rated skilled nursing facilities.  

California did not lead by just a little bit.  It “has twice as many highly rated homes as any other state, or in a region”.  I found myself saying “Huh?” I live in California and in my many years in the senior housing industry I have been in maybe 2 or 3 thousand senior housing communities across with country and in more than half of all the licensed skilled nursing buildings in the State of California. I don’t think anyone who is objective about skilled nursing in this country, would ever try to make a credible argument that overall, California has the best nursing homes in the country. Within the skilled nursing community it is well known that the 5 star system is very flawed and in fact provides consumers very little in the way of useful information.

A quick google search will provide a variety of articles that question the 5 star rating system. Here is my take after reading the article and browsing the list:

  • US News & World Report has done a shabby job of reporting.  In fact, they didn’t do any serious reporting or they would have been more cautious about equating a 5 star rating with the highest quality care.
  • It confirms that the 5 star system continues to be flawed.  This is not to say it has no value, but I would argue that at best, it’s value is primarily as a early detection tool to identify and rule out terrible nursing homes.
  • The one reliable conclusion you can draw from the list is that the highly rated skilled buildings are experts at getting a high rating 5 star rating.
  • There are some really great skilled nursing buildings in California and other states that don’t have a 5 star rating.  In fact often these buildings take on patients with complex problems and get terrific results, but because those patients are complex it hurts their star rating.

Your Turn

If you operate or work in a really great skilled nursing building in California, I am not talking about you! What do you think? What about your state? Steve Moran If you like this story it would be a great honor to me if you would subscribe to our email list.

Don’t miss a single issue of Senior Housing Forum, subscribe today. It is free! We do not sell or share your contact information. The posts are practical and never too long. Go to the main page of Senior Housing Forum and on the top you will see a link to our subscription sign-up page. You will receive notification when a new article is posted. You can unsubscribe at any time. Finally: If you know anyone who is looking at emergency call systems I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about Vigil Health Solutions.