The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is facing additional pressure from two Democratic lawmakers to make COVID-19 vaccination rates among nursing home residents and workers more accessible for the public.
“We believe more needs to be done to make these transparency measures useful to patients and their loved ones, particularly given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the United States, and the wide variation in vaccination rates among nursing home residents and workers throughout our nation,” Sens. Bob Casey (PA) and Ron Wyden (OR) wrote in a letter Friday to CMS Administration Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.
“We request that CMS continue building on its efforts to increase transparency regarding the rate of vaccinations among residents and workers at nursing homes. The agency should ensure that the average Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary, their families and employees are able to easily access facility-level data on Care Compare,” the lawmakers added.
CMS has been publicly posting nursing home vaccination rates since June. The agency in mid-July faced pressure to publicize nursing home COVID-19 vaccination data and website to make it more consumer friendly. It followed through on the request by revamping the website soon after.
The data, however, is not posted on the Care Compare website.
The lawmakers on Friday argued that the recent surge of the delta variant, increasing case rates in nursing homes and families’ concerns about providers’ willingness to share COVID data supports the need to put the information on Care Compare.
“At present, these data reside on entirely separate CMS and CDC websites — sources likely unknown to the average healthcare consumer — making it difficult for a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary to access facility-level vaccination information,” Casey and Wyden wrote. “Even if a person could find these websites, the vaccination data for individual facilities are not prominently displayed, creating additional barriers to find and use these critical data.”