The Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification is pleased to make nursing home survey information available to consumers to help evaluate the quality of care provided by the state's Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes. The Division inspects nursing homes at least every 9-15 months to assess compliance with federal standards of care such as adequacy of staffing, quality of care and cleanliness of facilities. In addition, as necessary, the Division investigates complaints and serious incidents occurring within a nursing home.

About the Surveys

  • Surveys are unannounced
  • Surveyors are health care professionals such as registered nurses and licensed social workers
  • A survey report is sent to the nursing home after each survey
  • If standards are not met, then the nursing home must submit a plan of correction to the Division
  • In some cases, a follow-up survey is made to verify that standards that were initially found not met are corrected

The Division's reports are technical in nature; therefore, they are sometimes difficult for consumers to interpret. In an effort to make survey results more available and understandable, the Division in conjunction with the Massachusetts Extended Care Federation, which represents nursing facility providers throughout the state, created a tool called the Search for a Nursing Home .

About the Survey Performance Tool

  • The tool has been developed to aid consumers in their choice of a nursing home
  • The tool uses existing data collected through the Division's surveys
  • Consumers can evaluate and compare facilities in five categories of:
  • The tool evaluates 132 items that have been reviewed during the last three standard surveys (44 selected items on each survey)
  • The tool reports the number of requirements in each category that are in compliance and reports a total overall performance
  • Deficiencies which were cited as a result of complaint or serious incident investigations conducted since January 1, 1998 or within one year of the most recent standard survey, whichever is later are included in the scoring. Investigations not resulting in a deficiency citation are not reflected in the tool; however that information is available from the Division's Public Information Unit
  • Consumers can use these reports to compare a nursing home's performance to the performance of other nursing homes
  • A new report is generated after each new survey or after an investigation which finds deficiencies in the key requirements
  • New homes that have not experienced three surveys are not included
  • The home's score is adjusted to reflect the Scope and Severity ratings of all deficiencies cited. When viewing a home's report, click on the Scope and Severity link, then the Scoring Methodology link to see how scores are calculated.
  • The tool is only available for certified nursing homes that have received three standard surveys since January 1, 1996. Facilities will be added to the tool as surveys are completed.
  • Facilities that are licensed only and do not participate in Medicare or Medicaid are not included in the tool.
  • Consumers may call the Division at (617) 753-8000 to obtain survey information on facilities for which no tool is available.

Choosing a Nursing Home

We hope that this tool assists the public in making informed choices when considering a nursing home for placement. We caution that no one document can adequately assess the appropriateness of a nursing home for a potential placement. The information provided in the Survey Performance Tool for Nursing Homes can not substitute for a personal visit and thorough review of a nursing home when choosing a facility for yourself or a loved one. Consumers should always visit each facility they are considering and spend time touring the facility and talking with residents, families and staff members. To get more information and tips on choosing a nursing home click on Choosing a Nursing Home.

Resources Available

There are many resources available from your community to help with decisions about the quality of nursing home care or about alternative models of care. Exploring all of your options will ensure that you make the most informed choice possible. To get more information about the resources that are available, click on Resource List.

Federal Certification Information

The Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) Nursing Home Database contains information on every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country. This Web site enables you to get additional information about nursing homes. Access this site by clicking on Nursing Home Compare .