What is this site?

This site was originally developed to be a tool to find the best nursing home you can afford, but once we saw the map we knew there was something bigger going on. Why are there so many nursing homes in our area with the worst possible rating? Is that normal?

Illinois ranks near the bottom nationally for nursing home quality, according to Families for Better Care. There are several reasons:

  • Too many Illinois nursing homes are cited by inspectors for severe deficiencies.
  • Too many Illinois nursing homes cut costs by understaffing.
  • Too many Illinois nursing homes use unnecessary medications to keep their residents docile.

This Chicago Tribune nursing home series by David Jackson and Gary Marx is a great place to learn more about the recent history of nursing home issues in Illinois.

A 2010 Long-Term Care Reform Bill improved the situation; however, other concerns with Illinois nursing homes include:

  • Housing people of all ages with mental illness in the same homes with seniors
  • Nursing homes sending residents for unnecessary procedures to defraud Medicare or Medicaid
  • Nursing homes that provide few activities for residents
  • Outbreaks of diseases like Legionnaires'

Where do you get your data?

We're showing you the Medicare Ratings for these places. This Medicare Data has received some deserved criticism, but it's getting better. Here's a description of the five-star quality ratings from Medicare.

How can we improve nursing homes and get rid of the bad ones?

Want to know more?

We're not experts. We just did a lot of reading, talked to some people and then made a website. Here are some groups who are working on this problem.

Who made this site?

This project began with an August 2014 story in the New York Times by Katie Thomas called "Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Game the System." The story got quite a bit of attention, including in Chicago's civic tech community.

At Chi Hack Night a group formed to build an app to do something about it. All the code is open source on GitHub, and contributions are welcome!