When Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, announced June 4 that she and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unveiling COVID-19 data for all the nation’s nursing homes that get federal payment, I thought, “Wow!”
These days, how states are reporting their nursing home COVID cases is varied and random. So this new “unprecedented” federal dataset, “constitutes the backbone of a national COVID-19 virus surveillance system,” Verma said. Continue reading
CMS has finally posted a database of reported deaths by facility for approximately 30,000 nursing homes. The data is updated weekly and provides confirmation of the awful toll this disease is taking on our most vulnerable population. As of June 1, more than 40,000 residents and workers in long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19. And that number is most certainly an undercount.
Information is still disjointed, in part because some states include group homes in their reports to CMS, and others only provide data for institutional long term care settings. Assisted living facilities are not part of the dataset since they’re not federally regulated. But any way you look at it, the numbers are staggering. Continue reading
Despite a recent GAO report detailing persistent infection control violations at nursing homes throughout the United States, many states are waiving liability for these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, at least 20 states have issued executive orders or enacted legislation temporarily absolving long-term care and assisted living facilities unless “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” can be proven. Continue reading
The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has been particularly fatal to older adults. Outbreaks in long-term care facilities like the one in Kirkland, Wash., drive home the extreme vulnerability of our nation’s elders.
The CDC’s March 28 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looked specifically at severe outcomes in older adults from COVID-19. The first preliminary reports from China found fatality rate was highest among patients over 60, particularly among those with underlying conditions; the rate was as high as 27% for those 85 and older. Continue reading
Staffing is perhaps the most important factor in a nursing home resident’s quality of care and the ability to live with dignity. Unfortunately, inadequate nursing home staffing is a widespread and persistent problem. Some nursing homes provide proper care, ensuring that their facilities have enough qualified care staff. However, many nursing homes still fail to maintain safe and sufficient staffing.
You can get staffing information from CMS’ payroll-based journal data, but there’s another tool that makes it pretty simple for reporters and consumers to find out whether nursing homes in their state meet requirements. Continue reading
Fewer than 20% of nursing homes in the U.S. are considered “best” under a revamped analysis from U.S. News and World Report, which is out with its 2019-20 ratings on Tuesday.
Ratings are provided for homes in every state and nearly 100 major metropolitan areas. California tops the list, with 169 nursing homes receiving a “high performing” rating in short-term rehabilitation and 157 “high performing” homes in long-term care, followed by Pennsylvania and Florida. Hawaii, Alaska and Washington, D.C., have the highest proportion of “best nursing homes,” with at least half of all Medicare or Medicaid-certified nursing facilities in these states receiving a high-performing designation in either short-term rehabilitation or long-term care or both. Continue reading