A federal pilot project that’s designed to measure the quality of nursing homes is expanding to include all 50 states. The program called the “Nursing Home Quality Initiative” allows you to surf to www.medicare.gov to find information on Iowa’s nursing homes. Debi Meyers is the Iowa Long Term Care Ombudsman. Meyers says the project provides important information for people trying to make tough choices. She says an informed and involved public is one of the strongest forces in contributing to quality care in long-term care facilities. Meyers says this site will answer a lot of questions. She says families and those concerned with a person’s care to often don’t know what to expect from a facility, they don’t understand their rights, they don’t understand the enforcement process. She says this site can be used to get the conversation going with nursing home administrators. She says they strongly encourage families, and the public to take a look at the website. Dana Holland is the administrator of the Ottumwa Good Samaritan Health Centers, and the president of the Iowa Health Care Association — which represents over 500 facilities in the state. He says the association sees this as a progressive opportunity to see health care judged on its merits as judged by a set group of data. Holland says the site is a “work in progress” and he expects a few problems as it expands across the country.He says even with potential problems, it is still a great beginning. Holland says the program needs to be utilized to be effective. He says they desperately encourage families to utilize the data, and to sit down with health care providers and discuss what the data means to them. If you don’t have access to the website, you can also call 800-633-4227 to get information on nursing homes.