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Adult care homes receive star ratings in 2009

Release Date: February 20, 2009
Contact: Jim Jones, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH – People who are deciding where to place themselves or a loved one in adult and family care homes in North Carolina have a new tool to help them evaluate their options: star ratings.

Starting today the Division of Health Service Regulation is posting star ratings ranging from zero to three on a Web page after each facility receives its 2009 inspection. Starting next year, the highest scoring homes can receive four stars. It will take at least 12 months for the more than 1,200 facilities in the state to be inspected. Ratings will be updated monthly and are available via the division’s Web site at: www.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/acls/star/search.asp

Star ratings from January’s inspections were posted to the Web today. Thus far, 62 certificates have been issued. Fifty-eight facilities received three stars. Forty-five of those earned a score of 100 or greater. Two adult care homes were ranked with two stars and two received rankings of zero stars.

“This is an excellent tool to help potential residents, their families and loved ones to make informed decisions as they evaluate the commitment of any home to providing quality care,” said Jeff Horton, acting director of the division, which includes the Adult Care Licensure and Certification Section, which licenses and inspects the homes. “There’s a dual benefit in that the star ratings also provide an incentive to the providers and the staffs in their homes to achieve a four-star rating by providing four-star care.

 “However, when consumers choose a home, it should be emphasized the star rating is only one piece of information to consider. It is recommended that in addition to reviewing the rating, one should also visit the home to see the condition of the facility, meet administrative staff, observe staff to resident interactions and to get an overall impression of the care provided to residents.”

State surveyors and county Department of Social Services staff check facilities for compliance with laws and rules affecting the quality of care provided. They focus on those elements that ensure the health, safety and welfare of the residents. Points are added or subtracted based on the findings of the state’s annual inspection as well as any findings from follow-up inspections.

Each home begins the inspection process with 100 points. Points are deducted for violations, deficiencies and license actions. Points are added for coming into compliance and for improvements, such as adding sprinklers, emergency power backup, or providing staff with training and retention incentives.

The number of stars a facility receives are based on a 10-point sliding scale. An adult care home may receive a zero-star rating if it scores less than 70 points, one star by scoring 70-79.9 points, two stars by scoring 80-89.9 points, and three stars by scoring 90-99.9 points. A home will receive a four-star rating only for its second consecutive year of scoring 100 or more points. In the first year of the new scoring system the highest rating will be three stars. Results will be updated monthly on the Web as more facilities are inspected using the star rating criteria.

The star licensing proposal was established by the legislature in response to citizens who wanted increased availability of public information regarding the care provided in adult care homes. The star rating program is part of Senate Bill 56, passed July 2007. In 2008, the N.C. Medical Care Commission adopted final rules to implement the system which was developed with input and feedback from a variety of sources, including residents and families in adult care homes, advocacy groups and providers. The division will be reporting to the legislature later this year regarding its experience with the Star Rating program.

Questions may be directed to DHSR.AdultCare.Star@lists.dhhs.nc.gov