Journalism in the Public Interest

Feds Release Nursing Home Inspections, Free of Censor’s Marks

The unredacted documents include patients’ ages, medical conditions, medications and other data omitted from inspection reports on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.


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In response to a Freedom of Information Act request by ProPublica, the government has released unredacted write-ups of problems found during nursing home inspections around the country. We’re making them available today for anyone who wants to download the complete versions.

For several months now, ProPublica has made redacted versions of this same information available in an easily searchable format in our Nursing Home Inspect tool. These versions, which reside on the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, Nursing Home Compare, sometimes blank out patients’ ages, medical conditions, dates and prescribed medications.

The agency has said the redactions are intended to balance patient privacy concerns with the need to inform consumers about the quality of care. ProPublica requested the unredacted reports because they are public records and because the added information can make them more useful.

For example, prescription information in the unredacted write-ups can help identify cases in which patients received medications such as antipsychotics that are dangerous for those with dementia.

Patients and employees are not identified in either the redacted or unredacted reports.

Nursing Home Inspect allows patients and their families to quickly find nursing homes in their states and identify those with serious deficiencies and penalties in the last three years. The entire national collection of reports — listing more than 267,000 deficiencies — is searchable by keyword.

At this point, Nursing Home Inspect continues to link to only the redacted inspection reports. To search through the unredacted versions, you’ll have to download them and use a program like Microsoft Excel or a text editor that enables you to hunt for keywords or phrases.

The unredacted reports are grouped by CMS region and can be downloaded here. A list of states in each of the 10 regions is here.

Elder Abuse

Jan. 14, 2013, 4:33 p.m.

What good is Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website if it does not contain all citations and penalties issued to a nursing home, including nursing homes that are responsible for the deaths of some of its residents?

For example, in one nursing home elder abuse/death case captured on video in our possession, the Los Angeles-area nursing home negligently failed to administer oxygen to a fainting patient at a flow rate required by physician orders and the patient’s care plan. At that time, the unfortunate, 88-year-old victim suffered rapidly declining oxygen saturation levels, cardiopulmonary arrest, and unexpected death.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification Program, which is hardly an aggressive watchdog of wealthy, politically connected nursing homes, concluded, “The above violation had a direct relationship to the health, safety and security of Patient 1.” However, CDPH, whose deputy director is Debby Rogers, RN, MS, FAEN, downgraded the violation, issued only a class “B” citation, and disrespected the deceased by issuing only a paltry $750 fine against the perpetrators.

To make matters worse, Medicare’s often inaccurate Nursing Home Compare website says that the nursing home has zero (0) deficiencies reported during the period of the class “B” citation and has not received any fines in the last 3 years, despite the $750 fine. So, when the public looks at the data on the nursing home on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website, they do not know about the wrongful death of the elderly man in 2011.

(Please see the U.S. HHS Office of Inspector General’s report entitled Inspection Results on Nursing Home Compare: Completeness and Accuracy.)


ElderAbuseExposed (dot) com

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