The end is near for the older version of the federal government’s primary consumer-focused nursing home resource.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will formally phase out its eight original Compare tools — including Nursing Home Compare — on December 1 in favor of its new unified Care Compare site.
CMS unveiled the updated site, which consolidates its public trove of health provider quality information into a single searchable database, back in September.
“By aggregating all eight of CMS’s quality tools into a single interface, patients can easily research different providers and facilities before they entrust themselves to their care,” administrator Seema Verma said in a statement announcing the rollout. “Today’s launch of Care Compare is the next step in fulfilling our eMedicare promise. Our administration is committed to ensuring our tools are robust and beneficial to patients.”
The old, fragmented system served as a barrier to the government’s primary goal of providing clear information about Medicare-certified health settings, Verma noted in a January blog post.
“Although they are among the most popular and used sections of the Medicare website, each one functions independently with varying user interfaces that make them difficult to understand and challenging to navigate,” Verma wrote.
Nursing Home Compare displays each facility’s five-star rating, with special warning icons for facilities with a history of abuse or neglect citations.
The old and new systems ran parallel to each other for an extended grace period in which CMS solicited feedback from various stakeholders.
Users will still be able to download historical public data regarding nursing homes and the other types of health providers that CMS evaluates under the Compare umbrella, including hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and dialysis centers.
“Fully transitioning to these tools does not change how CMS measures quality,” CMS observed. “In addition, we’ll continue to make improvements to Care Compare and the Provider Data Catalog based on stakeholder and consumer feedback now and in the future.”