AAHSA Chief Renews Call For Nursing Care Documentation

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While many providers reacted angrily to a New York Times investigation into nurse staffing levels at equity-owned nursing homes, the leader of the nation's second-largest nursing home association responded to the story differently.

The federal government should require more tracking of nurse hours, said Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
"What we don't know are the numbers of nurses who actually take care of Medicare residents in nursing homes. The federal government needs to require nursing homes to provide this data," he wrote to the Times.

"Your article shows that when nursing homes are focused on earnings, the residents suffer," he said. (AAHSA's members are entirely nonprofit.) "But shame on all of us for creating a Medicare payment system that benefits shareholders and investors over residents, and accomplishes that goal by firing nurses."

It was a renewed call to have the federal government learn what providers actually are spending on direct nursing care, explained Barbara Manard, an AAHSA vice president for regulatory affairs.

"There is a need for accountability so that the public has confidence that their money is being appropriately spent," she said.

"The information, amazingly, is not required on Medicare cost reports. But it is required on almost every Medicaid cost report already. This is not an extra burden for the homes to do."