Senators Want List of Troubled Nursing Homes Made Public

The fight for public access to the names of the nation’s worst nursing homes escalated Thursday with nine U.S. senators demanding that a federal agency immediately take steps to identify the facilities.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has compiled a list of nursing homes that have repeatedly fallen in and out of compliance with government health and safety regulations and caused harm to their residents. Those homes are not subject to more frequent inspections.

Two weeks ago, the agency issued what it called a “public list” of the homes, which identified 54 so-called “special-focus facilities.” But, as The Des Moines Register reported, the full list is believed to include the names of 128 homes and was recently given to industry lobbyists at the American Health Care Association.

Last week, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama called on the federal agency to make public the full list of facilities. On Wednesday, Obama and eight other senators signed a letter reiterating that demand and sent it to Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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