As part of the continuing efforts under President Joe Biden’s initiative to improve nursing home transparency, safety and quality and accountability, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced new actions to bring greater transparency about nursing home citations to families.
CMS plans to take a new step to increase the transparency of nursing home information by publicly displaying survey citations that facilities are disputing. Currently, when a facility disputes a survey deficiency, that deficiency is not posted to Care Compare until the dispute process is complete. This process usually takes around 60 days; however, some cases can take longer.
While the number of actual deficiencies under dispute is relatively small, they can include severe instances of non-compliance such as Immediate Jeopardy citations. This level of citation occurs when the health and safety of residents could be at risk for serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment or death. Displaying this information while it is under dispute can help consumers make more informed choices when it comes to evaluating a facility. While the citations will be publicly displayed, they will not be included in the Five-Star Quality Rating calculation until the dispute is complete.
The actions by CMS are the latest among several actions the agency has taken over the years to strengthen public reporting and the Five-Star Quality Rating System. These actions include:
- Adding the results of focused infection control surveys to the Care Compare website and Five-Star Quality Rating System,
- Increasing the Quality Measure rating thresholds to incentivize improved quality, and
- Adding measures of staff turnover to inform consumers of the stability of a nursing home’s staff (which is linked to the quality of care a nursing home provides).