Federal Government Lifts the Curtain on Nursing Home Turnover Data

Nursing Home Staffing Turnover

Nursing homes survive off federal funding from Medicare and Medicaid. As a result, the Federal Government regulates skilled nursing facilities, and ranks these facilities using a five-star rating system.

Unfortunately, America’s nursing homes have been plagued with poor care, even before COVID. The pandemic has only amplified these issues. While COVID has placed nursing homes in the spotlight, systemic care issues were always present.

Staffing Matters

The root cause of most nursing home negligence cases is understaffing. This occurs when a parent corporation intentionally understaffs nurses at a facility in order to maximize profits.

Prior to this change, nursing home staffing turnover data was not publicly available. As nursing home negligence attorneys, we would have to go to court to get this documentation. However, in a recent January 2022 memo, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has stated it will now report weekend staffing and staff turnover for each nursing home. 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. Users can expect to find the new reports under the facility’s “Overall rating” by clicking on “View Staffing Levels.”

CMS Staffing Reports

CMS has historically posted some information concerning staffing levels 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.

Why is Turnover Data Now Being Released?

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. It can be shocking for many people when they discover their loved one is not receiving as much care as they expected. Lower staff numbers can cause preventable injury, like bed sores or unsupervised patient falls.

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. CMS found that lower turnover is often correlated to high nursing home ratings.

Nurse turnover matters. Retaining quality caretakers means the nursing home will 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.

FREE Case Consultation

Do you believe your loved one was neglected or abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility due to understaffing?  Call Senior Justice Law Firm today to have your case investigated.  The call and consultation is free. Dial 888-375-9998 now.

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