Federal regulators have unveiled the first round of COVID-19 vaccination data for individual nursing homes on the CMS COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website. Statistics for rates of vaccination among staff and residents appeared Thursday afternoon.
Nursing homes have been required to submit their data since May 21. Enforcement of the mandate begins Monday (June 14), with all providers required to submit the prior week’s data by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday.
There were 748 of about 15,000 U.S. nursing homes that had reached the industry’s goal of vaccinating 75% of workers, as of the first data point, dated May 30.
Regulators are urging providers to submit updated figures to avoid civil monetary penalties. Wednesday afternoon, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent all nursing homes a reminder memo, outlining the weekly reporting mandate and the rationale for it. Fines will escalate for each week data is missing, officials noted.
“Any nursing homes that are not reporting this information weekly should do so immediately,” said the memo.
Data submission is conducted through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Safety Network reporting system. The tabulations can now be found here.
New elements to the website include a short discussion about vaccinations and the major nursing home associations’ goal of having 75% staff vaccinated. Within that is a hotlink to a list of facilities that have achieved that goal.
Also new are a hover box in the map that allows users to hover over a facility and see the resident and staff vaccination rates; and two bar graphs showing the percentage of residents and staff vaccinated by state. A downloadable data set includes the new vaccination data elements.
The top states for overall staff vaccination rates were Vermont (78.3%), California (76.5%) and Hawaii (76.5%), while the lowest were Wyoming (39.9%) and Mississippi (41%).
States with the greatest percentage of residents vaccinated were Vermont (96.9%), New Hampshire (92.3%) and Rhode Island (91.4%), while those with the least were Nevada (65.1%), Georgia (69.7%) and Florida (69.8%).
“This information is a critical step to protect nursing home residents and staff from COVID-19, and continue to drive cases down,” a spokesman with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Thursday.
“We would rather nursing homes report as required so we do not have to impose CMPs. However, for those that do not report, we will enforce this requirement,” the spokesman added.
CMS officials have said previously that enforcement of data submission can be conducted remotely, and providers could be cited outside of an on-site inspection.
The new data submission requirement was first announced with the issuance of an interim rule May 11. The rule also requires providers to educate residents and staff about COVID-19 vaccines and to offer shots. The rule is final, but CMS is accepting comments on it through July 12.
Long-term care providers previously had been required to report COVID-19 testing, case and mortality data via the NHSN system, but they had not been required to report vaccination data.
In announcing the new weekly reporting requirement a month ago, officials said it would help increase transparency among vaccination efforts and help health authorities focus attention and resources on providers most in need.
As of Thursday afternoon, the CMS COVID-19 site had registered 655,110 and 583,756 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff, respectively. The number of COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff were 132,608 and 1,931, respectively.