Part II – Researching Nursing Homes: What Can I Learn From Nursing Home Inspection Reports?
Trying to understand prior Department of Health inspection reports of your nursing home? Struggling to make sense of nursing home AHCA survey data? Our Florida nursing home lawyers explain in detail how to analyze this data.
(For part I of the “Researching Nursing Home” series describing, “How do I View Nursing Home Inspection Reports in Florida”, click here)
(For part III of the “Researching Nursing Home” series describing, “How Can I Find Prior Lawsuits Against a Nursing Home”, click here)
Now that you know how to access inspection reports for a nursing home, it is important to understand what can be learned from a nursing home inspection report.
What is a Nursing Home Inspection Report?
The Agency for Health Care Administration’s Division of Health Quality Assurance (AHCA) is tasked with overseeing the performance of health care providers. As part of their oversight, the AHCA inspects health care providers to ensure compliance with Florida Statutes, the Florida Administrative Code and relevant federal regulations. These inspections include reviews of medical documents, interviews with patients and their loved ones, along with staff and volunteers. In addition, the AHCA can institute an investigation in response to a complaint against the nursing home.
The AHCA uses two forms to denote deficiencies: a Form 2567 (for federal violations) and a Form 3020-0001 (for state violations). The form number will appear on the bottom left of the nursing home inspection report. These forms include the deficiencies, along with the nursing home’s action plan to fix the deficiencies. When a deficiency is cited, it may also include a classification to show the severity of the violation. The severity of nursing home violations of state rules are found in 400.23(8) of the Florida Statutes – and are classified as isolated, patterned or widespread. Nursing home federal deficiencies are rated by scope and severity.
What Information Can be Gathered from a Nursing Home Inspection Report?
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities do their best to present a pristine image for potential residents. Their websites may be fancy and may paint a picture of a flawless, state-of-the-art facility. Sadly, reality is quite different from the sales pitch for many nursing homes. By reviewing nursing home inspection reports, you can check whether the nursing home has been cited for deficiencies, and whether they have adequately addressed those deficiencies. Deficiencies can range from fire inspection violations, to bedsores, to improper contagious disease prevention, to wrongful death, to lack of staff, among other things.
What Other Helpful Information can be found on the Medicare Website?
If the nursing home inspection reports are too technical, it is still worth reviewing the nursing home comparison page on Medicare.gov. The comparison tool allows you to enter your zip code and compare multiple nursing homes based on a number of metrics including: overall rating, health inspections, staffing, quality measures, and distance. If further information is needed, each category has a tab that provides a further breakdown of metrics for each category.
With the help of this article, you now know what to look for when reviewing nursing home inspection reports for a Florida nursing home. In Part III of the “Researching Nursing Homes” series, we will discuss how to find prior lawsuits against specific nursing homes.