The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced on July 19, 2012 that it has redesigned and enhanced the Nursing Home Compare and Hospital Compare websites. As part of the enhancements, CMS has made more information available to the public. Many of the enhancements were required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), such as staffing data, links to survey reports, and access to a standardized complaint form and consumer rights information.  

In addition to making more information available to the public, the enhancements are intended to make navigation easier by users. The changes include new comparison tools that provide access to nursing home inspections. The sites also include updated glossaries and web resources to make information easier for the consumer to understand. PPACA required that the information on Nursing Home Compare be presented “in a manner that is prominent, updated on a timely basis, easily accessible, readily understandable to consumers of long-term care services, and searchable.”  

CMS notes that new information available on Nursing Home Compare includes the following:  

  • Narratives that detail specific findings from inspections of nursing home facilities;
  • Two new measures that report a nursing home’s use of antipsychotic medications;
  • Updated data for quality measures previously available on the site; and
  • Information on nursing home ownership (operating entity) pursuant to PPACA.  

Enhancements to Hospital Compare include:  

  • Two new measures that cover potential health risks of imaging services, such as exposure to unnecessary radiation; and
  • Updated data for existing quality measures.  

CMS reports that in the first half of 2012 there were over 1.7 million visits to the Hospital Compare site, and over 500,000 visits to Nursing Home Compare. The sites can be found at Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare.