Summary of CMS’ January 7 Memorandum
The Medicare.gov Care Compare website will now be reporting information on weekend staffing and staff turnover for each nursing home on the site. The new information will include the level of total nurse and registered nurse (RN) staffing on weekends provided by each nursing home and the percent of nursing staff and number of administrators that stopped working at the nursing home over a 12-month period. This information will begin being added to the website in January. Users can expect to find the new reports under the facility’s “Overall rating” by clicking on “View Staffing Levels.”
Background of CMS Staffing Reports
CMS has been posting information concerning staffing levels for years on their Care Compare site, such as the average number of hours worked by nursing staff per day and the average time physical therapists spend with each resident per day. These staffing levels are used to calculate the nursing home’s overall star rating. The overall star rating gives consumers a snapshot of the quality of each facility. The rating is between 1 to 5 stars, and considers the results of health inspections, quality of resident care measures, and staffing levels. Typically, a consumer can expect a higher quality of care at a facility with a higher overall rating.
Over the years, CMS has made several improvements to the information provided on the Care Compare site. Due to recent concerns from the Office of Inspector General and consumers about weekend staffing levels and staff turnover in nursing homes, CMS has once again updated their site to include this information.
Why Should I Pay Attention to the New Staffing Reports?
Transparency is important when it comes to nursing homes. These new staffing reports make important data available for the public to view. Many consumers may not be aware that some nursing homes have considerable variation in their daily staffing levels, especially on weekends. Many preventable injuries, like bed sores, falls, brain bleeds, and elopements, occur during the night shift or on weekends. It can be shocking for many people when they discover their loved one is not receiving as much care as they expected, but usually, these failures are attributable to lack of staff.
Knowing a facility’s staffing environment can also be important in determining the level of care your loved one will receive at a facility. For instance, if a nursing home has a higher turnover rate, it may result in lower overall quality of resident care. It is well accepted that understaffed nursing homes cause more injury and wrongful death.
Alternatively, a nursing home that has a lower turnover rate is generally associated with a higher level of resident care. CMS plans to include the following information in their staffing reports: the percent of RN staff, total nurse staff, and the total number of administrators that have left the facility in the last year. A nursing home with a lower turnover rate may have more staff that are familiar with the residents, their personalities, and their medical conditions. This is generally helpful for providing a comfortable and home-like environment for nursing home residents. Furthermore, staff that are familiar with a resident’s health may be able to identify a change in their condition sooner than unfamiliar staff.
The new staffing information provided on the Care Compare site can greatly help consumers understand the quality of a facility when choosing where to place their loved ones.
If your loved one was injured in a nursing home that lacked staff, contact the nursing home attorneys at Senior Justice Law Firm.
If you work in a nursing home and have firsthand knowledge of understaffing, contact our nursing home whistleblower attorneys to learn more about how you can get paid to report fraud and understaffing in a skilled nursing facility.« Previous PostNext Post »