“90% of all nursing homes were cited for health violations.”
According to the 2013 data compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over 90% of Nursing Homes received at least one citation during the calendar year for violating federal nursing home health regulations.1. That statistic is even more alarming when you stop and think about how the data was assembled.
Every nursing home in the country that takes any money from the federal government through either Medicare or Medicaid is required to adhere to certain regulations design to establish a minimum level of care and basic rights for every nursing home resident even if that resident does not receive Medicare/Medicaid benefits. Additionally each nursing home is inspected by the state. These inspections are called surveys. 2. 3. (Read about How to Read a Survey)
In 2013 the Department for Health and Human Services issued the most recent data summarizing all of the health deficiencies that were found at each nursing home during the most recent calendar year. For that year 90.5% of all nursing homes in the country had at least one violation. If a nursing home had violations in prior years but not in the current year, it was counted as having no violations in this report. If the nursing home was not inspected in the calendar year it was not counted in the data.
Non-profit homes did a little better. 87% of non-profits had at least one health violation. For profit and government homes did worse.
Although this news is sobering, the reality is likely even worse. A recent study by the U.S. General Accounting office showed that 70% of the time, surveys MISSED health deficiencies. 4. 5. As we discuss in other articles, nursing home inspections occur only about once a year. Often the homes know the inspection is coming and they take steps in the days leading up to the inspection to reduce the number of problems. Additionally, even though the inspections are down infrequently, they inspect only a small number of nursing home residents and their charts. Therefore, the chances that problems are missed are high.
Before placing your loved one in a nursing home, you should look at the most recent inspection reports/surveys (see sample for violations) of any facility you are considering. If your loved one is already in a home, take a few minutes and read the most recent reports for that facility. We believe strongly that you should NOT rely on summaries that others have compiled of the survey. You should look at the full survey itself.