Providers respond to Consumer Union's 'Nursing Home Watch List'

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The American Health Care Association came out in defense of the quality of care provided by nation's nursing homes and called a report issued last week by the Consumers Union inaccurate and misleading. The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging also cautioned about reading too much into the report.

The Consumers Union report entitled, "How Good are Your State's Nursing Homes?" said more than 1,700 facilities nationwide were on its "watch list." The report is narrowly focused and fails to acknowledge the existence of government data concerning nursing home quality, said Hal Daub, AHCA president and CEO. The report also does not show that providers have committed to performance excellence with new programs that are seeing results, he added.

An AAHSA statement said any report card or ranking should be used "as just a starting point for further inquiry rather than as a definitive statement about a nursing home's quality of care. Visiting nursing homes, seeing for yourself, talking to residents and families, and asking questions of staff are still some of the best ways to judge a nursing home."

"Nursing homes that offer the highest quality of care emphasize the physical and emotional well-being and dignity of each resident," the AAHSA statement said. "These things don't often show up on report cards or inspection forms."