The ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance is demanding answers on how the federal government plans to better hold nursing homes accountable for staffing decisions.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a sharply worded letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma on Aug. 14, stemming from an earlier New York Times article asserting that the new use of payroll records to verify staffing levels indicates that providers previously had submitted “often exaggerated staffing levels.”

“It’s clear the manner by which CMS measures nursing home quality needs updating,” Wyden wrote.

The senator also expressed concerns about Payroll-Based Journal figures indicating that, 7 in 10 homes were found to have lower staffing using the new methods, with a 12% average decrease.