Infection control deficiencies were widespread throughout nursing homes before the pandemic, according to a May report by the Government Accountability Office. 

Its analysis found that 82% of all surveyed nursing homes were cited for having an infection prevention and control deficiency in one or more years between 2013 and 2017.

Nearly 50% of facilities were cited in consecutive years during that same time period; 35% had deficiencies cited in three or four consecutive years; and 6% had deficiencies in all five years.

“This is an indicator of persistent problems at these nursing homes,” the report’s authors wrote.

But the report also found that of the deficiencies, nearly all of them (99%) were classified each year by surveyors as not severe. Also, 67% were classified as not severe and did not have any enforcement actions imposed or implemented. Nearly one-third (31%) had enforcement actions imposed but not implemented.

The GAO did not make any recommendations. The agency said it planned to release future reports on infection prevention and control and emergency preparedness in nursing homes.