Community Issues

400 Troubled Nursing Homes Not on Government List

Senators release troubling report and full national list. You can search it here.

For years, the federal government for years has kept the names of hundreds of bad nursing homes around the country a secret. Nearly 400 facilities nationwide had a persistent record of poor care as of April. But they weren't included on a shorter list of homes that have warning labels and are under increased federal scrutiny.

So says a Senate report released Monday. Click here to read the list of all of the facilities.

Source: PoliticsPA

The two senators who released the report, Bob Casey D-PA and Pat Toomey R-PA (pictured above) questioned why the names of some homes are left off the problem list, while other homes were on it. And they said the secrecy undermines the federal government's commitment to make sure families struggling to find nursing homes for loved ones have all of the information they need.

"We've got to make sure any family member or any potential resident of a nursing home can get this information, not only ahead of time but on an ongoing basis," said Casey, as quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Toomey agrees. "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."

"We've got to make sure any family... can get this information." Sen. Bob Casey D-PA

Budget cuts seem to be contributing to the problem, according to the Associated Press. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does publicly disclose the names of a group of about 80 nursing homes that are getting special scrutiny -- where their Medicare and Medicaid funding can be cut off if they don't fix serious ongoing health, safety or sanitary problems. The nearly 400 homes on the list released by the Senators could also qualify for this Special Focus Facility program, but there's not enough money to inspect them all.

Federal administrators acknowledge they don't have the money to provide increased scrutiny for all homes that have shown they need it.

"Having a more complete list might help (consumers) avoid facilities that the government is acknowledging are very, very troubled," Toby Edelman, a senior policy lawyer with the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, told the Post-Gazette .

CMS says their searchable Nursing Home Compare website (click here) is still the best tool for consumers to see a home's rating and compare nursing homes.

(Above: A CMS rating page for a Texas nursing home that was not on the government's "short" list of troubled nursing homes, but appears on Senator Toomey and Casey's list)

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