New Service for Choosing a Nursing Home

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun a five-star quality rating system for each of the nation’s 15,800 nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. It’s the first-ever U.S. federal government website to help  with the difficult and emotional task of choosing a nursing home.

Nursing Home Compare : Find and Compare Nursing Homes (web site):

To search the system simply enter a Zip Code to get star ratings of nursing homes in that area.

Facilities are assigned star ratings from a low of one star to a high of five stars based on health inspection surveys, staffing information, and quality of care measures. The site will be updated monthly and indicates whether the facility is for-profit or not-for-profit.

In this first round of quality ratings, about 12% of the nation’s nursing homes received a full five-star rating while 22 % scored at the low end with one star. Many of Utah’s nursing homes score below or much below average in the new quality ratings system. Of the 93 Utah nursing homes reviewed by the government, 22 ranked below average (two stars) and 17 have an overall quality rating of one star, the lowest score possible.

Utah nursing home provider lists (without ratings) specific to counties, cities, or zip codes can be retrieved using:

Utah Cares (website):

If you would like information regarding other Certified or Licensed provider types not listed in the above resources please contact the Utah Health Facility Licensing, Certification and Resident Assessment Bureau at (801) 538-6158 or toll free at 1-800-662-4157.

Some helpful government publications designed to help you choose a nursing home include:

Nursing Homes : Making the Right Choice National Institute on Aging. (2007). Nursing Homes: Making the Right Choice. (also available as a PDF, 6 p., and in Spanish.

Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home (PDF, 68 p. Also available in Spanish.

National Center for Assisted Living, American Health Care Association. (2003). Planning Ahead: A Consumer’s Guide to Nursing Facilities.

For additional helpful government resources and publications please visit the
MedlinePlus topic: Nursing Homes :

Checklists for making a nursing home selection, along with Utah-specific facility brochures and other background information, are available at the Utah Health Care Association’s Web site,

Published by

Ray Matthews

Government Documents and Digital Library Services Coordinator, Utah State Library