In December 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will launch a new five star rating system. This new system is designed to allow residents and their families an easy way to understand the assessment of nursing home quality. This new system is not meant to replace a consumer actually going to the nursing home and visiting with staff, residents and other families, rather, it is just another tool to aid in choosing a nursing home.

The new system will provide a compiled view of the quality and safety information already on the Nursing Home Compare website and will attempt to make it easier for people to compare nursing homes. The five star rating system will also serve as an incentive for nursing homes to earn the five star rating by providing an environment of better quality of care.

More information, including a screen shot of what the proposed rating system will look like can be found on the Five-Star Quality Rating System page of the CMS website.