New Report Suggests Nursing Homes Understaffed
Change is in the air… Can you feel it? If you're running a nursing home in the US, you'll soon be under greater scrutiny than ever before. A new report from Kaiser Health News suggest that most nursing homes have been running understaffed – likely for years.
The data, analyzed by Kaiser Health News, come from daily payroll records Medicare only recently began gathering and publishing from more than 14,000 nursing homes, as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Medicare previously had been rating each facility’s staffing levels based on the homes’ own unverified reports, making it possible to game the system. – KHN, 7/13/18
Because Medicare was relying on nursing homes to self-report staffing levels, nursing home administrators were able to prey upon consumers – And “game the system” says Kaiser. After analyzing payroll records and comparing those records with (self reported) staff levels, a significant gap was uncovered.
Video: Nursing Homes Understaffed
“Being a caregiver in a nursing home is hard enough work. These people are unsung heroes” says Amie Clark, founder of The Senior List®. “Trying to provide adequate care in an understaffed environment gets incredibly frustrating for all involved – Caregivers, residents and family members all suffer the consequences.”
In it's piece titled “It’s Almost Like a Ghost Town. Most Nursing Homes Overstated Staffing for Years”, the NY Times interviewed stroke survivor Jay Vandemark who said that especially on weekends, his nursing home was; “almost like a ghost town.”
Medicare star-ratings and the incredibly competitive environment in the senior housing arena may have driven many nursing homes to deceive those they truly wish to help – Families in need.
Greater transparency and trust is more imperative than ever. Given the investigative reporting of Kaiser, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and others, it looks like greater oversight and regulation will be coming soon – Whether senior housing providers like it, or not.