The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has implemented more rigorous standards for the Five-Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes. The standards now require additional data from hospital readmissions, a lower threshold for staffing penalties, and separate evaluations for short-term and long-term stays. The star-rating overhaul aims to improve the quality of care at nursing facilities around the country, in addition to improving the reliability of ratings, and comes as a response to criticism of CMS for being too lenient in the past.
In June, a jury awarded $5 million to the estate of a woman who passed away at an Alabama hospital after developing severe pressure ulcers. She was admitted to the hospital in August of 2015, and the family filed a lawsuit in October of 2015, citing that the hospital failed to follow their own policies to properly turn and reposition her in bed. The hospital knew she was at risk for pressure ulcers, as she was mostly bedridden. The hospital staff also falsified medical records to show care that was not actually provided. The patient developed pressure ulcers (also called "bed sores") on her lower back and upper arm. She died on November 3, 2015, with the pressure ulcers causing her significant pain and suffering towards the end of her life.