Government to publish more nursing home information on 'Compare' Web site

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Report calls for CMS to get tougher with nursing home complaint investigations
Report calls for CMS to get tougher with nursing home complaint investigations
More harsh news could be coming nursing homes' way: The federal government is expected to announce this afternoon that it will be posting more in-depth information about nursing homes on its Nursing Home Compare Web site.

A special announcement will be made at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Kerry Weems, according to an advisory sent Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). CMS "will announce steps it is taking to further improve care in the nation's nursing homes while proposing that new information be made available" on the Web site, the advisory said.

Federal lawmakers and regulators have taken an increasingly stern stance with skilled nursing operators in recent months. Less than two months ago, for example, regulators reversed an earlier policy and began posting a full list of so-called "special focus facilities"-the nation's worst nursing homes-on Nursing Home Compare for the first time.

Some of the most menacing news for providers has come as a result of bills in Congress calling for wider dissemination of in-depth information about nursing home operators. Also, later today lawmakers will hold a second congressional hearing on proposals that would outlaw nursing home preadmission arbitration agreements, which providers say help keep down liability costs.

Yet another event that brought providers widespread negative attention recently was a May 15 Government Accountability Office report that criticized surveyors for allegedly understating or missing problems in nursing homes on a wide scale.