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Government Launches Nursing Home Rating System

ontology Center, also at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said that "the positive about this is they are finally bringing to the public a rating of medical care that had been a mystery before, based on surveys, but it's limited to that and has none of the other information that families also desperately want when they want to decide on a facility."

Meanwhile, the National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform issued a statement saying it is "fully aware of the shortcomings of the rating system," but it would still support it as an important educational tool.

But the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging was more critical of the new effort.

"The five-star rating system is a great idea prematurely implemented. We support a consumer-friendly nursing home rating system based on reliable quality information that the public can understand. But what is being launched tomorrow is poorly planned, prematurely implemented and ham-handedly rolled out," Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the association, said in a statement.

The importance of comprehensive, up-to-date information on the nation's 16,000 nursing homes is indisputable.

U.S. Census figures project that the number of Americans age 65 or older will double by 2030 and that two-thirds of today's 65-year-olds will require some period of long-term care later in their lives.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 1 million Americans enter a nursing home each year.

The decision to enter a nursing home -- or to place a family member in a nursing home -- can be gut-wrenching.

"This is one of the hardest decisions that families ever make," Greenberg said.

Rankings on the new site are based on input from three areas: quality measures, nurse staffing levels and health inspection reports.

"You get stars for the overall status of the fac

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