Health Care Act

Star ratings show SC nursing homes outperforming those in NC

Star ratings indicate quality of care for some of the most fragile elderly.
Star ratings indicate quality of care for some of the most fragile elderly. AP

South Carolina’s nursing homes are more likely to get high rankings from the federal star system than those in North Carolina or nationwide, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The foundation looked at quality ratings for more than 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicaid and/or Medicare, including 416 in North Carolina and 188 in South Carolina. The federal government issues five-star quality ratings (look up individual homes here). The ratings are based on state health inspections, staffing and other quality measures.

“The nursing home population includes some of the oldest, frailest, more medically compromised and cognitively impaired people covered by Medicare or Medicaid,” the report says. The goal, it says, is to spark discussion about whether the federal government should do more to improve quality of care, such as imposing higher standards and paying more for higher-rated homes.

The analysis found that nonprofit homes, smaller homes and nursing units that are part of continuing care communities all tended to have higher ratings.

Across the country, 42 percent of homes had four- or five-star ratings, compared with 48 percent in South Carolina and 40 percent in North Carolina. Thirty-three percent of South Carolina homes had only one or two stars, compared with 41 percent in North Carolina and 36 percent nationwide.

Helms: 704-358-5033;

Twitter: @anndosshelms. This article is done in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.