Getting the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve a controversial Supreme Court nominee might be a full-time job for most chairmen. But not for Sen. Charles Grassley.

Despite the 24/7 attention being paid to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, the Iowa Republican took time out of his busy schedule to put skilled care operators on notice.

To be specific, he just dashed off a rather scathing letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. The gist of the missive is that he doesn’t seem to put much faith in the quality numbers being submitted by operators.

“I remain concerned about CMS’s efforts to ensure quality nursing home care to our most vulnerable citizens,” the correspondence reads. Don’t be fooled by such vagueness. Here’s what he really means:  Why aren’t skilled care quality numbers being audited to ensure accuracy?

Why does this matter? Well, Gentle Reader, it was just a short while ago that staffing numbers submitted under Payroll-Based Journaling began to be audited. Apparently, the employee totals the industry had previously been submitting often turned out to be, shall, we say, optimistic?

In fact, more than 1,000 skilled care facilities have seen a star removed from their ratings since the PBJ audits began. At a time when hospitals and consumers are using these rankings to weigh possible resident placements, that’s quite a kick in the gut.

So what happens if quality auditing is also put in place? Well, let’s just say this might be a good time for operators to double-check their math.

John O’Connor is McKnight’s Editorial Director.