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Medicare said those homes either lacked a registered nurse for “a high number of days” over three months, provided data the government couldn’t verify or didn’t supply their payroll data at all.
Daily nursing home payroll records just released by the federal government show the number of nurses and aides dips far below average on some days and consistently plummets on weekends. A new California law increases minimum staffing standards at nursing homes, but critics say it doesn’t go far enough.
Use this tool to see staffing levels at skilled nursing homes in California.
Nationally, one in five Medicare patients who leave the hospital for a nursing home end up back in the hospital. In California, one-fifth of the more than 1,200 nursing homes send at least 24 percent of their Medicare patients back to the hospital. To discourage this trend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon give bonuses and penalties to facilities based on their rehospitalization rates.
Increasingly, owners of nursing homes outsource services to companies in which they also have financial interest or control. That allows the nursing homes to claim to be in the red while owners reap hidden profits.
Medicare is discouraging regional offices from levying fines for “one-time mistakes” or from using daily fines that seek to put pressure on nursing homes to make changes.