SOUTH GLENDALE — Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich on Thursday unveiled a new nursing home grading system at a gathering inside Windsor Manor in Glendale.
Effective in January, a new state law will require senior facilities across the state to post the nursing home grading report issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in plain sight.
While all nursing homes must meet state and federal licensing guidelines, the five-star quality rating system grades the level of service provided by the facility — one star for "much below average" to five stars for "much above average."
The rating system covers quality of medical care, staffing levels, food services, sanitation and fire safety, officials said. A new rating is issued roughly every two years.
"Every family, every resident will know before they enter the quality of care they will be receiving," Antonovich said at the news conference at the senior living community Windsor Manor in South Glendale.
Antonovich last year successfully championed the posting of the federal ratings to the county website, which he said will be taken to the next level through a state law sponsored by state Assemblymen Cameron Smyth and Mike Feur.
The law requires that the information be posted in at least three areas and be accessible and visible to members of the public.
The requirement is modeled after the county-administered restaurant grading system, which officials say has helped to cut down on incidents of food poisoning.
In addition to making the information more accessible, the law is aimed at creating incentives to improve conditions and services.
"It motivates the skilled nursing homes to provide a high quality of service to attract future residents because otherwise they will go out of business," Antonovich said.
Windsor Manor is one of a small group of facilities across the state that has an across-the-board five-star rating.
"It's my goal that we should not be in the minority," said John Cochrane, chief executive for Windsor Manor. "Four and five stars should be the norm."
The rating information is also available online at http://www.medicare.gov/NHcompare.