Nursing Home Compare and Medicare Ratings…What do they mean to you?

Nursing Home Compare and Medicare Ratings…What do they mean to you?

We live in a world where we research and consider every option for any big purchase.  We have a strong need to Google, talk to friends, and see reviews and ratings before we make a final decision.  One of the biggest “purchase decisions” we can be faced with is choosing care for our loved ones or ourselves.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and to help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions. A nursing home, or skilled nursing unit, as well as rehab provides care that can only be done by licensed nurses, and as such, should be held to high standards.

PineCrest is one of several skilled nursing providers in the Lufkin area.  PineCrest offers long-term Skilled Nursing and short-term Rehabilitation that falls under the skilled nursing umbrella.  It should be noted both the Transitional Rehab and the long term skilled nursing are each located in their own dedicated neighborhoods.

Since health care choices are so critical, it is important to choose care based on objective information rather than just opinion.  CMS created the “Nursing Home Compare” section of their website in 1998 and has been upgrading and adding information ever since.  They began using a “Five Star Nursing Home Quality Rating System” to summarize much of the detailed information on Nursing Home Compare so that consumers could more easily distinguish among nursing homes.

Skilled nursing providers are given one overall possible 5-star rating and a separate rating based on the following three sources of information:

  1. Health Inspections
    1. This information is based on the results of annual health inspections conducted by trained government inspectors over the last three years. It measures whether centers meet standards designed to protect patients – like proper medicine management and safe food storage and preparation. (
  2. Staffing
    1. This provides information on how much care a resident receives. It quantifies the number of hours of care that nursing staff gives to each resident per day.  The higher the number of staff hours per resident, the higher the staffing rating. (  More staff per resident means quicker responses to call lights and more one-on-one time.
  3. Quality Measures (QMs)
    1. This measure assesses residents’ overall health, physical functioning, mental health and well-being. They quantify things like whether residents received their flu shots, how many residents fell and were seriously injured, or whether residents have been losing weight.  (

The rating system can be used in a variety of ways.  Nurses and doctors in hospitals can use these ratings when making decisions concerning discharge referral decisions.  Individuals can use it as part of their research when choosing a rehab for themselves or for their loved one.  Just remember if you are the individual doing research, a rating system cannot always tell you everything you need to know.  It should be used as a starting point or as part of an overall decision.  Individuals should research the star rating, then visit top rated skilled nursing providers they are considering. Speaking with staff and residents will help provide a comprehensive picture of the provider.

What do Nursing Home Compare and Medicare Ratings mean to you?  They mean that you have an opportunity to look at the options available in your area compare their ratings to narrow your search to further explore a provider that makes you feel confident.  But, remember, these ratings are best used in conjunction with personal visits.  Supplemental research might also be helpful.  Consider following them on social media to learn more about their resident programing and company culture.  You might also choose to visit with a current resident and their family or ask your physician for their recommendations.

PineCrest presently has a 4-star Overall Rating and is the only provider in the Lufkin area to have a 4-star rating for Staffing.  We welcome you to come visit our rehab and see the difference 4 stars makes!

Please be sure to visit us online to see all the services we provide – Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Transitional Rehab and Memory Support.  We look forward to seeing you soon.


Nursing Home Compare:

PineCrest homepage:  

(All information taken from unless noted.)