NYTimes: Nursing Homes Overstated Staff Levels To Boost Medicare Ratings, Payroll Records Show.

July 7, 2018

In a front-page article, the New York Times (7/7, Rau) reported most US nursing facilities “had fewer nurses and caretaking staff than they had reported to the government for years, according to new federal data” based on “daily payroll records Medicare only recently began gathering and publishing from more than 14,000 nursing homes.” Those records, analyzed by Kaiser Health News, “reveal frequent and significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing,” and offer “the strongest evidence that over the last decade, the government’s five-star rating system for nursing homes often exaggerated staffing levels and rarely identified the periods of thin staffing that were common.” The piece said David Gifford, a senior vice president at the American Health Care Association, pointed out that “there are legitimate reasons staffing varies. On weekends, for instance, there are fewer activities for residents and more family members around.” He explained, “While staffing is important, what really matters is what the overall outcomes are.”

        In additional coverage, the New York Times (7/7, White) features a search tool displaying “how more than 14,000 nursing homes rate using Medicare’s assessment of overall staffing.”

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Last modified on 07/12/2018

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