Nursing Home Citations Increase Nationwide, Report Finds
The number of nursing homes nationwide that were cited for placing residents in "immediate jeopardy" increased by 22% from 2000 to 2006, according to a USA Today analysis of CMS records.
The citations are the most serious reprimand inspectors can issue and often follow cases in which residents have been physically or sexually abused or did not receive their medications, USA Today reports. Nursing homes that are cited for immediate jeopardy may be fined or prohibited from accepting new Medicaid beneficiaries, "a major source of their income," USA Today reports.
The analysis found that inspectors in 2006 identified nearly 2,000 violations that jeopardized residents at about 850 of the 16,000 nursing homes across the U.S. Those violations account for about 6% of total violations found in nursing homes. CMS records for 2007, which are incomplete, show that more than 1,300 immediate jeopardy citations have been issued.
Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, said that the data do not "necessarily mean things are getting worse" but indicate "we're finding more of the problems." Jeffery Hammond of the New York state Health Department said, "We have a new mind-set," adding, "It's not that the quality of care has gone down, but we are being more rigorous in our enforcement."
Bruce Yarwood, CEO of the nursing home trade group American Health Care Association, in a statement said that although the number of serious citations is increasing, there have been improvements in patient care (Heath, USA Today, 12/19).