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Center for Public Integrity Releases Analysis of Widespread Inaccuracies in Reported Nursing Home Staffing Information

The Center for Public Integrity has released an analysis showing large-scale discrepancies in the nurse staffing information self-reported by nursing homes on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Nursing Home Compare website. By comparing staffing information contained in cost reports nursing homes make annually to the state-federal Medicaid program and staffing data reported on Nursing Home Compare, the Center has found that the majority of facilities – more than 80% of nursing homes nationwide – report higher levels of registered nurse care to Nursing Home Compare than are reflected in annual cost reports. In addition, according to the Center’s research, over-reporting of the total hours of total nursing care residents receive is commonplace. Although these discrepancies were found throughout the country, eight of the ten states with the largest levels of reporting discrepancies are located in the South.

This newly-released research supports what advocates have known for quite some time – that the nurse staffing information reported and available to consumers on CMS’s Nursing Home Compare website is widely unreliable and inaccurate. As there is a strong correlation between staffing levels in nursing homes and quality of care, the need for publicly available, accurate staffing information is essential for consumers and their loved ones to make well-informed decisions when selecting potential facilities. The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014, signed into law by President Obama in October of this year, provided funding for development of a system for the collection of nursing home staffing levels through verifiable payroll data. It is now imperative for CMS to operationalize this system without further delay in order to fix the current discrepancies found on the Nursing Home Compare website.

If you have a loved one who has received substandard care in a nursing home please contact our office at 516 292-4700 or toll free at 888 465-8790.