Policy makers will have to go “much further than reducing regulatory inefficiencies or red tape” in order to improve nursing home oversight, one veteran stakeholder is arguing.
Vanderbilt University professor David Stevenson said the United States is “still failing to protect nursing home residents” and called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to increase transparency of nursing home ownership and financing to help combat the issue.
CMS currently makes some ownership information available for active nursing homes but the data is often incomplete and can be difficult to use, Stevenson said in a Health Affairs blog post.
He urged CMS to make ownership data widely available for researchers and state licensure agencies and to “add the ability to examine care across all facilities of specific owners to the Nursing Home Compare website, allowing consumers and others to see quickly if an owner is generally involved in the provision of higher- or lower-quality nursing home care.”
“CMS should take further steps to ensure the veracity of these data and develop summary measures for inclusion in public use files or even on the Nursing Home Compare site to convey an accurate picture of facilities’ financial status and spending priorities,” Stevenson said.
He added increasing transparency also means simplifying and ensuring the accuracy of nursing home cost reporting.
“CMS should take further steps to ensure the veracity of these data and develop summary measures for inclusion in public use files or even on the Nursing Home Compare site to convey an accurate picture of facilities’ financial status and spending priorities,” he said.
Stevenson also pushed for CMS to clarify guidance and study the impact of its targeted survey approach for top-performing facilities and to increase coordination in the survey and certification process.
“Although targeting oversight activities more efficiently could, in theory, free up resources to address some of these challenges, a less contentious approach would be to integrate complementary oversight activities and create a system of mutually reinforcing safeguards,” he said.
He added that surveyor efforts should be buttressed by better leveraging the “insights and expertise” of stakeholders such as long-term care ombudsmen, adult protective services members and local law enforcement officials.