Blue Sky Therapy Blog

5 Tips to Improve Quality Measures and Increase Your Star Rating!

by Blue Sky Therapy

Be A Shining 5 Star!

hand-giving-five-star-rating-vector-19100334All eyes are on SNF administrators and your Star Rating data! Existing residents, resident family members, and staff are looking at it as hopefully a source of pride. Families, physicians, social workers, and discharge planners may be looking at your data to ensure the best care is provided to their family member or patients and are increasingly making decisions based on Five Star Ratings. ACOs, Bundled Payment Providers, and Insurance Companies also determine if they will refer beneficiaries to your facility based on your rating.

Quality Measures are a major component of your Five Star calculation. Quality Measure data is reported to CMS through the Minimum Data Set (MDS) and illustrates the quality of care the resident’s in your facility are receiving. There are several ways you can increase your Star Rating and your standing in the SNF community through therapy initiatives that boost your Quality Measure component.

5 Tips to Improve Your Quality Measures with Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy:

1. Percent of residents experiencing one or more falls with major injury (Long Stay):
  • Therapists utilize standardized assessment tools and thorough clinical assessment to identify components contributing to balance deficits or the reason for falls (multi-sensory, center of gravity control, vestibular, or postural control).
  • Therapists determine and provide appropriate treatment interventions that address balance and strengthening and design exercise progressions/programs to reduce the risk of falls.
2. Percent of patients or residents with pressure ulcers that are new or worsened:
  • Therapy has an important role in the preservation of function, movement, and skin integrity. Therapists work with individual patients to improve/maintain their ability to re-position/weight-shift as able.
  • Therapists also collaborate with the interdisciplinary team to educate on effective positioning strategies which will reduce the risk of skin breakdown.
  • Therapists also have a specialized role in promoting wound healing through evidenced-based application of electrical stimulation modalities to intensify the healing process.
3. Percentage of short-stay residents who were successfully discharged to the community:
  • Proactive discharge planning and enhanced care transitions are imperative and therapy departments can help to ensure a patient is ready to be discharged successfully.
  • Therapy may address cognitive issues, determine the supervision level required for specific tasks, and identify abilities for medication self-management during this process.
  • Patient engagement and satisfaction is necessary to create an optimal outcome and therapists provide the one-on-one patient attention to increase these outcomes.
4. Percentage of short-stay residents who made improvements in function:
  • Therapy is very involved with self-care and mobility functional items as they relate directly to the initial and final three-day period that the patient is in the SNF.
  • The self-care and mobility baseline function levels are reported on the therapy evaluations.
  • Function is assessed and addressed throughout the patient’s admission, and a final functional improvement level is captured on the therapy discharge assessment.
  • Your therapy department should be providing you with admission/discharge data and functional outcomes related to self-care and mobility.
5. Percentage of long-stay residents whose ability to move independently worsened:
  • Daily communication between nursing and therapy regarding residents at risk for decline in mobility is critical.
  • Therapy can intervene and provide rehabilitative treatments to improve patient mobility or design and implement interdisciplinary programs to maintain resident’s mobility status.


And as you know, our industry is under a sea of change so there may be more updates coming soon, but here are the latest updates to Quality Measures:
  • While the PDPM will make a big impact starting October 2019, it is important to not lose focus on the SNF Quality Measures. Quality Measures shape public perceptions of the quality of care provided at the SNF based on public reporting. In addition, failing to submit quality measure data poses a significant financial risk to providers.
  • While there are no new quality measures or changes to the reporting requirements contained in the July 2018 final rule, it is important to be aware that several quality measures under Assessment-Based Measures and Claims-Based Measures will impact payment effective October 2018
  • SNFs are currently in a data collection period which will determine future payments in FY 2020.


So how do you measure up? We encourage you to visit Nursing Home Compare to explore your quality measures compared to your state averages and the national benchmarks!

We'd love to show you our stats, which exceed the national average!

If you think you can do better with your Quality Measures and want to see how Blue Sky Therapy can help you improve your clinical outcomes and showcase your value to families and the community, contact us now!

Physical Therapy PDPM Speech Language Pathology CMS Skilled Nursing Facilities Star Rating Quality Measure Occupational Therapy

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