CMS adds new alert for nursing homes accused of abuse, neglect. Starting Oct. 23, the online tool consumers use to compare nursing homes will include a “consumer alert icon” next to nursing homes cited for incidents of abuse, neglect or exploitation, POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein reports. The agency says it’s aiming to increase transparency, make it easier for consumers to find this information and give it to them faster than waiting for CMS’ quarterly updates. (The icon will be updated monthly).
— But some advocates said they want more. Bob Blancato, the Elder Justice Coalition’s national coordinator, wrote in an email that the policy change “still leaves the glass more than half empty” and that “transparency would be better achieved if it included a process by which data submitted to get a rating was subject to periodic audit to ensure its accuracy.”
The nursing home lobby, American Health Care Association, said it supports transparency but thinks CMS should create a “standard and rational definition” of abuse and neglect. It also wants CMS to add customer satisfaction capabilities to the Nursing Home Compare tool, so consumers can see reviews. 10/08/19
Oct 07, 2019
Trump Administration Empowers Nursing Home Patients, Residents, Families, and Caregivers by Enhancing Transparency about Abuse and Neglect Administration delivers on “Transparency” pillar of a five-part approach to ensuring nursing home safety and quality, giving patients unprecedented information about nursing home quality
Today, the Trump Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a major enhancement of the information available to nursing home residents, families, and caregivers on the Agency’s Nursing Home Compare website. Later this month, CMS will – for the first time – display a consumer alert icon next to nursing homes that have been cited for incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. By making this information accessible and understandable, CMS is empowering consumers to make the right decisions for themselves and their loved ones. This critical move toward improved transparency is yet another way CMS is delivering on the Agency’s five-part approach to ensuring safety and quality in nursing homes, which Administrator Seema Verma announced in April 2019.
“The Trump Administration and CMS are committed to ensuring that nursing home residents are safe from abuse and neglect. Through the “transparency” pillar of our five-part strategy to ensure safety and quality in nursing homes, we are giving residents and families the ability to make informed choices,” said Administrator Seema Verma. “With today’s action, the Trump Administration is putting critical information at consumers’ fingertips, empowering them and incentivizing nursing homes to compete on cost and quality.”
The already robust Nursing Home Compare tool displays an array of information about nursing homes – including whether a facility meets federal standards with respect to health and safety compliance inspections, staffing levels, and quality measure performance. Previously, consumers could learn about past instances of abuse citations at a nursing home, but finding this information from its health inspection reports available on Nursing Home Compare required multiple steps. Through today’s action, CMS is minimizing the steps, making it easier than ever for patients, residents, and their families and caregivers to quickly identify nursing homes with past citations for abuse.
Patients and families will see CMS’ new alert icon for Nursing Home Compare, shown above.
Beginning October 23, 2019, the new alert icon will be added to the Nursing Home Compare website for facilities cited on inspection reports for one or both of the following: 1) abuse that led to harm of a resident within the past year; and 2) abuse that could have potentially led to harm of a resident in each of the last two years. To ensure CMS is providing the latest information, the icon will be updated monthly, at the same time CMS inspection results are updated. This means consumers will not be forced to wait for CMS’s quarterly updates to see the latest -related information – and nursing homes will not be flagged for longer than necessary if their most recent inspections indicate they have remedied the issues that caused the citations for abuse or potential for abuse and no longer meet the criteria for the icon. This icon will supplement existing information, including the Nursing Home Five-Star Ratings, helping consumers develop a more complete understanding of a facility’s quality.
There are many factors that indicate a nursing home’s quality, and the Star Ratings may not capture some nuances. For example, a nursing home cited for an incident of abuse may have adequate staffing numbers and provide excellent dementia or rehabilitative care. Previously, consumers would clearly see this facility’s performance in these areas through the Star Ratings, but abuse complaint allegation information may not have been as clear. Under the CMS action announced today, this facility would have an alert icon displayed, allowing consumers to see both its Star Ratings and the icon, helping them easily weigh the facility’s quality. In addition, we are continuing our work to improve the usefulness of the Star Ratings.
Today’s announcement is part of CMS’ larger push initiative to keep nursing home residents safe – Administrator Verma’s five-part approach to ensuring safety and quality in America’s nursing homes. The approach includes the following pillars: Strengthening Oversight, Enhancing Enforcement, Increasing Transparency, Improving Quality, and Putting Patients over Paperwork. This framework is informing all CMS work related to nursing home safety.