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Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

This issue brief presents national and state-level analysis of nursing homes based on the Five-Star Quality Rating System, recently updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers compare nursing homes when selecting one for themselves or their family members. The issue brief finds that more than one-third (36%) of the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid received relatively low ratings of 1 or 2 stars (out of a possible 5 stars). In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have 1- or 2-star ratings. In 23 states, however, at least half of the nursing homes have 4- or 5- star ratings. This issue brief discusses relevant policy considerations regarding nursing home quality—a serious issue in light of the vulnerability of the nursing home population and recent reports of problems arising from inadequate staffing, fire safety hazards, and substandard care.

Medicaid and Long-Term Services and Supports: A Primer

This primer provides an overview of the delivery and financing of institutional and community-based long-term services and supports in the United States, highlighting Medicaid’s key role, quality measurement and evaluation, and recent national reform efforts.

Medicaid at 50: A Look Back – And Ahead

Medicaid, the main health insurance program for low-income people and the single largest source of public coverage in the U.S., turns 50 this year. In that time, it has grown to cover nearly 70 million Americans and become a key source of financing for safety net hospitals and health centers,…

Medicaid at 50

The Medicaid program, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965, will reach its 50th anniversary this year, a historic milestone. This report reflects on Medicaid’s accomplishments and challenges and considers the issues on the horizon that will influence the course of this major health coverage and financing program moving forward.

Awaiting New Medicaid Managed Care Rules: Key Issues to Watch

More than half of all Medicaid beneficiaries now receive their services in risk-based managed care plans, and states’ use of managed care is expanding. States operate their own Medicaid managed care programs within federal rules and requirements. The federal regulations were last updated in 2002 and a new proposed rule is expected in Spring 2015. This brief identifies key issues in the regulation and discusses how CMS might address them.

New Report on the “Rising Cost of Living Longer” Details Medicare Spending by Age

A new report, The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare, from the Kaiser Family Foundation takes a detailed look at per person Medicare spending by age and by service among the nearly 30 million people covered by traditional Medicare in 2011

The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare

This analysis provides a detailed look at per person Medicare spending on the nearly 30 million beneficiaries over age 65 who are enrolled in the traditional Medicare program. Among the key findings of the report is that per person spending rises with age, peaking at age 96. But this rise is not entirely explained by Medicare spending on end of life care, which declines with age. What Medicare spends money on also changes as beneficiaries age. Hospital care is the largest component of Medicare spending throughout the age curve, up to age 100, but there is less spending on physician services and more on home health, skilled nursing and hospice care as beneficiaries age.