A nationwide study of nursing homes says North Carolina's facilities are improving.
A survey commissioned by the federal government shows more nursing homes scored higher on a five-star health rating system in 2011 than in 2009. The number of stars awarded is based on health inspections, the amount of staff at each home, and quality-of-life measures.
Alan White helped develop the rating system for Abt Associates, the company that first conducted the study for federal regulators in early 2009.
"Three years later, the percentage with the one-star rating had fallen from 14 percent to 6.7 percent, so it dropped by more than half while the percent with the five-star rating went from 5.7 percent to 16.4 percent, so it more than doubled during that time period," White says.
White says he believes the rating system has acted as an incentive for nursing homes to improve their practices. The upward trend was consistent for all but three states across the country. North Carolina was slightly ahead of the national average in 2011, but White says the state has fallen behind the average in staffing and quality measures since then.