CMS leader Seema Verma

The Society for Post-Act and Long-Term Care Medicine sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma in late November asking the agency to stop using an icon to chastise providers. 

The federal government’s new alert icon warns consumers about nursing homes that have been cited for abuse or neglect citations. This breaches an important patient safety principle, long-term care medical directors said.

The open palm in a red circle, which is put next to offenders at the consumer-facing Nursing Home Compare website, transgresses a standard that calls on providers to establish blame-free environments for reporting incidents, the physician group wrote.

“We … urge CMS to rescind its decision to use the red hand icon, a damaging and punitive strategy that violates patient safety principles and is likely to reduce reporting rather than prevent abuse and neglect,” President Arif Nazir, M.D., and Executive Director Christopher Laxton said.

It also doesn’t promote accountability, they said.