A government program that brings extra scrutiny to poorly performing nursing homes leaves out hundreds of troubled facilities, investigators report.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identifies up to 136 nursing homes as "special focus facilities" subject to more frequent inspections because of their living conditions. In every state except for Alaska, there are between one and six such facilities. But investigators said four times as many homes, or 580, could be considered among the nation's worst.
The report from the Government Accountability Office does not identify the homes.
The chairman of the Senate Aging Committee said it indicated to him that the special focus is too limited. At the least, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., wants more explicit warnings about nursing homes as people study quality ratings on a Medicare Web site, Nursing Home Compare — http://www.medicare.gov/nhcompare
"If far more than 136 nursing homes boast the bleakest conditions, then perhaps we should consider expanding" the program, said Kohl, who requested the study with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
The GAO said it made just that recommendation two years ago. Federal officials agreed with the concept, but said they didn't have the resources to do so.
The report also suggests adjusting the methods used to identify the worst performing nursing homes. The home now under special attention are the worst performing in their state. But not all states are created equal when it comes to nursing home quality. Comparing the homes nationally would ensure that scarce resources go to inspecting the nursing homes that truly need the most attention, according to the report.
Full Article and Source:
Federal Program Misses Problem Nursing Homes
Read the GAO report- Nursing Homes: CMS's Special Focus Facility Methodology Should Better Target the Most Poorly Performing Homes, Which Tended to Be Chain Affiliated and For-Profit