When trying to find a nursing home for a loved one, families have 16,000 to choose from across the United States.  Screening and selecting the right facility can be a difficult task, as finding straightforward information about nursing home quality can be challenging.

The challenges facing those searching for a good nursing home were again complicated by a recently released GAO report warning that there are more ‘bottom of the barrel’ nursing homes out there than anyone has been willing to admit.

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have found that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may have failed to identify enough of the worst rated nursing homes across the U.S.  The GAO identified 580 homes as being the worst in the U.S. while CMS only had 136 homes on their list of “special focus facilities”.

CMS special focus facilities are subject to more frequent inspections because of their bleak living conditions and poor ratings.  In addition to identifying a large number of troubled homes, the GAO also recommended a national ranking of nursing homes instead of only a state-by-state ranking.  The GAO contends that focusing on rankings at the state level could leave out some truly poor homes that could use additional oversight.

CMS runs a website called “Nursing Home Compare” which allows people to research nursing homes online and view quality ratings for individual homes.  Nursing Home Compare has had its share of critics who claim that the ratings system is misleading and incomplete.  The GAO report is another blow to the online database, which at least one Senator contends should have more explicit warnings about poorly performing homes.

Profile of poorly performing nursing homes

GAO investigators examined the worst-performing nursing homes to see if they had any traits in common.  They found that:

  • Many of the worst ranked nursing homes were part of a for-profit chain of facilities.
  • Poorly rated nursing homes were often large, holding an average of 102 residents (homes not on the bottom of the rankings had 89 residents on average).

The GAO report did not identify the 580 nursing homes that it considers to be the worst in the country.

Nursing home abuse and neglect are terrible events that no resident should have to endure.  If you or someone you love has been the victim of an abusive or neglectful facility, you can take action.  Please contact the attorneys at Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas to find out how you can hold the facility and staff responsible for their actions.  Let our skilled lawyers get you started on the road to recovery.

Carl N. Lauer
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Representing injured persons in Virginia. Workers' Compensation Claims.

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