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Blog: What the 5 Stars Are Reflecting Now, the Freeze and Beyond

Since the implementation of the October 1, 2023 CMS updates to the RAI Manual, there has been much discussion about the “freezing” of certain Quality Measures due to the loss of Section G in the MDS. Care Compare, last updated on October 25th, reflects the capture of functional data through the following dates: 

  • Claim-Based Hospitalizations and ED visits data — through 3/31/23 (Q1 2023) 
  • MDS-Based Quality Measures — through 6/30/23 (Q2 2023) 

CMS plans to temporarily “freeze”, or hold constant, four of the fifteen Five-Star Quality Rating System measures.  Beginning April 1st, 2024, CMS will use data collected between October 1st, 2022 and September 30th, 2023 for the following measures: 

  • Percent of Residents Who Made Improvements in Function (Short-Stay) 
  • Percent of Residents Whose Need for Help with Activities of Daily Living has Increased (Long-Stay) 
  • Percent of Residents Whose Ability to Move Independently Worsened (Long-Stay) 
  • Percent of Residents with Pressure Ulcers (Long-Stay) 

Starting January 1st, 2025, the freeze will be lifted for the three Long-Stay Quality Measures, and the following measures will be updated: 

  • Percent of Residents Whose Ability to Walk Worsened (Long-Stay) 
  • Percent of Residents with Pressure Ulcers (Long-Stay)
  • The New Discharge Function Score (Currently collected through Section GG scoring) 

For additional reading on this topic, read our 10/1/23 blog: “Quality Measures Shake-Up: Section G’s Exit” here.

The Point Is:  The “Freeze” isn’t really a freeze. Functional data is already being captured in Section GG and will be reflected in the January 2025 update on Care Compare. Functional improvements remain a primary reason for SNF stays and will continue to significantly impact our client satisfaction and Five-Star Ratings.  Please let us know if we can be of help as we all navigate through these changes.  

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