Senate report IDs facilities with 'poor care' history | News Coverage from USA

Senate report IDs facilities with ‘poor care’ history

After nursing home staff allegedly failed to respond to a resident’s medical concerns, he called 911 himself but died upon arrival at an Illinois hospital. 

A Florida facility allegedly neglected to clean blood sugar measuring devices between testing different patients, risking infection.

The federal government puts a warning label on the first facility, but the second is one of nearly 400 nursing homes nationwide with a “persistent record of poor care” that are not publicly identified, according to a Senate report released Monday.

Pennsylvania’s senators released a list of those facilities on Monday, questioning why their names are not disclosed like those in a smaller group of nursing homes where inspectors found health, safety or sanitary problems. 

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Among the facilities on a list the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided is a Texas nursing home whose management allegedly failed to fix a waste system backup. Staff continued to serve food from the kitchen, the report says, despite a foul-smelling black substance coming through the drains and “seeping into the kitchen floor.” 

“When a family makes the hard decision to seek nursing home services for a loved one, they deserve to know if a facility under consideration suffers from systemic shortcomings,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who along with Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., issued the report 

About 1.3 million Americans are nursing home residents, cared for in 15,600 facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government in April identified about 3 percent of them as problematic in one of two categories, according to the report. 

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publicly discloses the names of about 80 nursing homes that investigators frequently check on to resolve documented issues. The agency calls them participants in the Special Focus Facility program.

If they don’t improve, they can be cut off from Medicare and Medicaid. The government’s Nursing Home Compare website identifies them with a small yellow triangle. 

The 400 facilities highlighted by senators on Monday qualify for the program because of a “persistent record of poor care,” but are not selected because of limited resources, according to the report. The senators describe the candidates as “nearly indistinguishable” from the smaller group. 

Federal budget cuts in 2014 limited the number of nursing homes the agency can put in the oversight program, Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a May letter to Senator Casey. 

The agency is evaluating whether it can publicly release the list of nursing homes not in the program, Verma said. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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