Nursing Homes Cited with Infection Control Deficiencies during the Pandemic: Poor Results In Health Inspections, Low Staffing Levels

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Courtesy of the Center for Medicare Advocacy

Since March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has limited surveys to two types: targeted infection control surveys and complaints and facility-reported incidents that states triage as immediate jeopardy. The Center for Medicare Advocacy analyzed the infection control surveys released by CMS on June 4, 2020 and found that less than 3% of 5724 infection control surveys resulted in infection control deficiencies; 163 infection control deficiencies were cited at 162 nursing facilities.[1]  

The Center has now analyzed the information on Nursing Home Compare for the 160 facilities that were cited with infection control deficiencies.[2] By various measures, these facilities provide poor quality care. Facilities cited with infection control deficiencies had low star ratings, particularly in health surveys, and were more likely to be for-profit facilities. More than 40 percent of the facilities had remedies imposed (civil money penalties) for prior deficiencies and ten facilities were Special Focus Facilities or candidates for the SFF program. 

Health Inspections

For example, as shown below, facilities with poorer survey results were more likely to be cited with an infection control deficiency. Of the 160 facilities cited with an infection control deficiency, 95 facilities (59.4 percent) had one or two stars in health inspection surveys. Only 36 facilities with four or five stars (22.5 percent) in health inspection surveys were cited with an infection control deficiency.

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[1] Center for Medicare Advocacy, “Infection Control Surveys at Nursing Facilities: CMS Data Are Not Plausible” (Report, Jun.11, 2020), https://medicareadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Infection-Control-Surveys-Report.pdf.
[2] The 163 deficiencies were cited in 162 distinct nursing facilities.  Two other facilities are excluded from this analysis of star rating because they were Special Focus Facilities (SFF); CMS does not report star ratings for SFFs.

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