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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
  December 12, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan
609-984-7160


New & Improved Nursing Home Performance Report
Launched on the Internet

TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services today unveiled a new and improved inspection-driven rating system of nursing homes to help consumers shopping for long-term care for themselves or family members. The web-based report card is posted on the department's website at www.state.nj.us/health/ltc.

The performance report replaces an earlier version that was based on the results of the two most recent federal standard surveys conducted at each nursing home. The new report also takes into account surveys conducted in response to complaints and, for the first time, applies a weighted scoring system that reflects the scope and severity of deficiencies found during inspection visits.

"This report takes our rather technical and voluminous inspection data and puts it into a simple, consumer-friendly on-line reference tool for consumers," said Acting Health and Senior Services Commissioner George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD. "Together with our other web-base resources - including our Guide to Long-Term Care Settings - we hope to make the very difficult decision of selecting a nursing home or other long-term care option a little easier for New Jersey residents."

The report is part of a total re-design of the department's long-term care website. The new site utilizes a unified facility and inspection database, putting the information consumers want and need about a specific long-term care setting into a single on-line document. The database can be searched by town, county or facility name. It includes information - including any enforcement actions taken - on licensed nursing homes, assisted living residences and programs, residential health care facilities, comprehensive personal care homes, alternate family care programs, and adult and pediatric day healthcare services.

The nursing home performance report uses inspection data collected over a two-year period 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.

In the report, nursing homes are awarded points for each evaluated standard met during surveys conducted at the homes during the preceding 24 months. Points are deducted from standards not met, taking into account whether the issues identified were isolated or widespread, and whether they resulted in potential for harm or actual harm to a resident or residents.

The top score a nursing home can earn in the performance report is 100, reflecting no deficiencies found in the evaluated areas in a two-year period. Consumers can compare nursing homes to each other and to a 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.

The New Jersey report's first posting shows a statewide average total score of 88.73. Thirty-five homes received the top score of 100. The report will be updated on a regular basis as new surveys are completed and entered into the database.

Consumers who want to find out more about specific violations can visit the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' website at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/home.asp, or contact the nursing home directly. By law, nursing homes must have a copy of their most recent survey posted for public review.

Nursing home scores in the report card are determined by the results of information gathered during the department's unannounced inspections. For standard surveys, teams comprised of registered professional nurses, nutrition consultants and registered pharmacists evaluate all aspects of resident care and nursing home procedures and practices, assessing facility compliance with state and federal standards. The team's evaluation includes inspection of medical records, observation of resident care, inspection of all areas of the nursing home, and interviews of residents, family members, staff or other individuals. Every nursing home in the state is fully inspected once a year on average and more often if problems are found. Standard surveys are usually five or more days in duration.

Inspections in response to complaints are generally shorter in duration than standard surveys and focus primarily on those areas of resident care alleged to be at fault. All complaint team members are registered professional nurses. If, during the course of a complaint investigation additional problems are uncovered, a full on-site inspection may be initiated.

New Jersey is one of the few states to produce a performance report and, together with it's other web-based resources, is a leader in providing easy-to-access resources for those seeking long-term care services.

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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