The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today made more nursing home ownership data available as part of the White House’s push to increase transparency in the sector.
The new batch of data, to be posted at data.cms.gov and updated monthly, will give state licensing officials, state and federal law enforcement, researchers and the public “an enhanced ability to identify common owners of nursing homes across nursing home locations,” CMS officials said in an announcement this afternoon.
While welcomed by some provider groups and not entirely unexpected, today’s move continues to add pressure on nursing home owners, some of whom have been accused of creating complex ownership networks and infrastructure to frustrate or inhibit public viewing and tracking.
“We’re taking another major step forward in improving transparency in healthcare,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Researchers, states, regulators and others will be able to use this new data source to learn more about the impacts that nursing home ownership structures have on the care provided to residents.”
The information can be linked to other data sources to identify the performance of facilities under common ownership, such as owners affiliated with multiple nursing homes with a record of poor performance. While intended primarily for researchers and state and federal agencies, the new nursing home ownership data will also be accessible to consumers through a link in the ownership section of Care Compare on the Medicare.gov website effective with a Sept. 28 update.
Some observers see the continuing pressure on owners as more fallout from the recent Skyline chain collapse.
Today’s announcement comes five months after federal regulators announced they had first added data highlighting nursing home ownership changes to its website in an effort to increase transparency.
At that time, providers and legal experts quickly cautioned that early findings should not be viewed in a vacuum. The American Health Care Association, the nation’s largest nursing home association, said it supported regulators’ transparency efforts but warned that information must be kept in perspective and reasons for ownership trends should be clearly understood.
Today’s expansion also follows a Public Citizen report published early this month that said the public nursing home ownership database launched by CMS earlier this year was riddled with incomplete information on private equity links to SNF owners.
“President Biden has made clear that we must improve the quality of care in our nation’s nursing homes — and we are taking unprecedented steps to deliver on his call to action,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said today. “We are continuing to make more data publicly available than ever before to improve transparency for researchers, regulators and loved ones.”
Monday’s announcement added another chapter to an already tumultuous year for skilled nursing providers and their regulators.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more details.