Journalism in the Public Interest

The 10 Most Common Nursing Home Violations

We’ve updated our searchable Nursing Home Inspect database to cover more than a quarter million deficiencies found at U.S. nursing homes.


(Image: iStockPhoto)

ProPublica today is updating our Nursing Home Inspect tool, which now includes details of more than a quarter-million deficiencies identified by government regulators at U.S. nursing homes over the past three years.

Since releasing this information on its website this summer, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has added details of historical violations found in nursing homes. The agency now releases narrative reports of these problems from a home’s last three inspection cycles — or about three years.

ProPublica created Nursing Home Inspect to allow users to easily search through the reams of reports, looking for trends or particular problems. Earlier this month, we used the tool to find examples of homes that had been cited for violating residents’ voting rights. We also came up with a tipsheet for how to best search the records.

Nursing homes are inspected annually, called a standard survey, and when there is a complaint. Inspectors typically work for state agencies paid by Medicare. If they find problems, known as deficiencies, they rank them on a scale of A to L, the most severe. The vast majority are either labeled D or E.

Of the 262,500 deficiencies in our database, here are the 10 regulations most commonly violated by nursing homes:

Facility is Free of Accident Hazards: 17,331

Facility Establishes Infection Control Program: 14,186

Provide Necessary Care for Highest Practicable Well-Being: 13,401

Store/Prepare/ Distribute Food Under Sanitary Conditions: 11,746

Develop Comprehensive Care Plans: 9,070

Services Provided Meet Professional Standards: 8,986

Clinical Records Meet Professional Standards: 7,962

Not Employ Persons Guilty of Abuse: 7,288

Drug Regimen is Free from Unnecessary Drugs: 7,040

Dignity: 6,605

Most interesting and saddening.  Is there any way to get the report on specific, local nursing homes?

Gregory Pawelski

Nov. 18, 2012, 2:54 a.m.

Please remember that violations found are quite often AFTER extensive drills/training of facility staff on what to do when inspectors arrive, or alerts that inspectors will soon arrive, and a hustling to square up facility units.  Even more saddening.

Edmund Singleton

Nov. 19, 2012, 2:49 p.m.

I was in a nursing home for three weeks under the cover of getting therapy, with Medicare picking up the bill it was very hard to get out. If I was a non-Medicare patient I would not have been able to get in and not allowed to stay one night…

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes

Our Nursing Home Inspect tool allows anyone to easily search and analyze the details of recent nursing home inspections, as well as penalties imposed on each home over the past three years.

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