Tag Archives: nursing homes

Is the Biden administration’s plan to revamp nursing home standards enough?

Photo by Ulrich Joho via Flickr.

It took a pandemic and tens of thousands of deaths before most people became aware of just how bad circumstances were in many U.S. nursing homes. Long-term care residents bore the brunt of COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly in the early days of the crisis. The Biden administration wants the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to tighten standards and oversight to avoid anything like this from happening again.

While the initiative only got passing mention in the March 1 State of the Union address, the White House released a lengthy fact sheet ahead of the speech, detailing several key initiatives it’s directing CMS to implement:

  • Increasing minimum staffing requirements.
  • Reducing resident room overcrowding.
  • Strengthening the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program.
  • Reinforcing Safeguards against Unnecessary Medications and Treatments, actions they say “will improve the safety and quality of nursing home care, hold nursing homes accountable for the care they provide.”
  • Making the quality of care and facility ownership more transparent so that potential residents and their loved ones can make informed decisions about care.

More than 200,000 residents and staff in nursing homes have died from COVID-19 — nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite current regulations, The Government Accountability Office found that from 2013 to 2017, 82% of all inspected nursing homes had an infection prevention and control deficiency, including a lack of regular handwashing, that was identified through Medicare and Medicaid surveys.

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Study shows racial differences in COVID-19 nursing home deaths

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Photo: Prachatai via Flickr

Racial disparities are glaringly obvious when examining COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths. A new study in JAMA Open looks at how these inequalities in the general population may also be associated with differences in mortality among nursing home residents with a COVID-19 infection.

In a cross-sectional study of 13,312 U.S. nursing homes, University of Chicago researchers found that COVID-19 death counts were 3.3-fold higher in facilities with the highest proportions of non-white residents than in facilities with mostly white residents. This difference in mortality was associated with a combination of differences in facility characteristics and location. Continue reading

Does care suffer as private equity firms buy struggling nursing homes?

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Photo: Gilbert Mercier via Flickr

Private equity firms are in the business of making money. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that. However, a disturbing story in The Washington Post alleges that when private equity is involved in the buying and selling of nursing homes, things are often worse than they seem.

The story, by reporters Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason, looks at Portopiccolo Group, which has a history of buying one- and two-star rated facilities. Continue reading

As nursing home death and infection rates rise, how is isolation affecting seniors?

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Photo: SalFalko via Flickr

As the U.S. enters what experts predict may be the most severe months yet of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of infections and deaths among residents and workers in nursing homes is rapidly rising.

Much of the nation is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and perhaps no situation is more concerning than that of nursing home residents and workers. A report released Dec. 10 by two senators ― Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member of the Finance Committee, and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging ― indicate an already-dire situation in nursing homes is worsening. Continue reading

New partnership seeks to boost nursing home safety

PPE for nursing homes

Photo: Scouse Smurf via Flickr

A new partnership will provide free training and mentorship to nursing homes across the country to improve evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices.

The National Nursing Home COVID Action Network is a collaboration by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Institute in Albuquerque and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston. The goal is to further protect residents and staff from the SARS-COV-2 virus. Continue reading