This is in response to Brittany Lyte’s June 5 story, Feds’ Secret List of Troubled Nursing Homes Includes Hawaii Facilities.
The Healthcare Association of Hawaii is the nonprofit trade organization serving Hawaii’s hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home care companies, and hospices. We certainly support making relevant and transparent information available to consumers and their families so they can make informed decisions about nursing facility care.
However, it is important to frame Hawaii’s skilled nursing facility care in the context of the nation’s standards. Hawaii nursing homes have performed exceptionally well in comparison to their national counterparts.
Hawaii remains the healthiest state in the nation for seniors. Based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ updates to Nursing Home Compare rankings in April 2019, Hawaii’s percentage of 5-star facilities, at 40%, is nearly double the nation’s 5-star percentage of only 21%.
Hawaii’s skilled nursing facilities have partnered on multiple initiatives to improve quality of care. Hawaii nursing facilities lead the nation in minimizing use of antipsychotic medications for long-stay residents, and have continuously scored better than national averages on quality measures such as preventing depression, falls, urinary tract infections, and decline in activities of daily living in nursing facilities, among others.
While the names of nursing home Special Focus Facility candidates have not been released by CMS until now, the public has already had access to information that helps to identify a nursing facility’s quality status.
In December 2008, CMS began rating all nursing homes using a Five-Star Quality Rating System. This scoring system provides an overall rating, in addition to information on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures, with access to previous survey reports.
It gives consumers the opportunity to make an informed decision about placing a loved one in a particular nursing facility.
It is also important to consider the entire picture of the facility. In other words, consumers should not solely rely upon one source of information, and should visit facilities at different times of the day, as well as ask about services that a loved one needs.
Hawaii’s nursing homes are working hard to provide the best care they can, and they continue to outpace the nation in many important areas. Consumers can see this for themselves with information that is publicly available and should use that information to help find the right placement for loved ones.