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Violations At Nursing Home Prompts New Reporting System

Federal investigators stated that more than 90% of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year. In response to this alarming number, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a compliance guide for nursing homes that says some homes “have systematically failed to provide staff in sufficient numbers with appropriate clinical expertise to serve their residents. Researchers have found that people receive better care at homes with a higher ratio of nursing staff members to patients and those with lower numbers have more nursing home abuse. The inspector general said he found some cases in which nursing homes billed Medicare and Medicaid for services that “were not provided, or were so wholly deficient that they amounted to no care at all. The president of the American Health Care Association stated that the inspection system was broken because it does not reliably measure quality or create positive incentives. In December, the Bush administration plans to begin using a five-star system to describe the overall quality of care. The rankings will be published on a federal Web site so that people may see which nursing homes to pick. To read the full story, click here.