You may have heard horror stories in the news or from your friends and family about abuse or neglect in nursing homes. Some assisted living facilities advertise themselves as sanctuaries for society’s most vulnerable members, but their staff members betray our trust and fail to provide our loved ones with the care they deserve.
Fortunately, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized this pervasive issue and is responding accordingly. One of the organization’s latest measures is the implementation of a new data marker on Nursing Home Compare. Families across the U.S. use this site to find high-quality assisted living facilities for their elderly loved ones. Now, Nursing Home Compare labels certain homes with an icon indicating recent citations for abuse. For many Americans, this update will prevent years of unnecessary pain and suffering for their elderly family members.
To encourage more families to use this government website, we have put together a helpful guide explaining how to take full advantage of Nursing Home Compare.
How to Navigate Nursing Home Compare
On this website, you will find detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the United States. General information includes location, staffing, health inspection results, and overall rating. When you click a specific listing, you will also have access to details such as fire safety inspection results, quality of resident care, penalties, and more. In addition to information about specific nursing homes, the site’s resources page provides explanations of resident rights, instructions for filing complaints, other additional websites and publications, and even a glossary of related terms.
To begin comparing nursing homes, follow these simple steps:
- Visit Nursing Home Compare.
- Enter a ZIP code, city, and/or state in the “Location” box.
- OPTIONAL: Filter the results by including part of the name or the full name of a nursing home in the “Nursing Home Name” box.
- Click the green search button.
- Click the information icon or the name of the nursing home for more details about each listing.
Once you click “Search” and obtain your initial list of 20 results, you will have access to additional options. Clicking the arrows at the bottom of the page will reveal more listings. You can also choose to see your results on a map by clicking “Go to map view” in the upper right corner. The side panel offers additional filters such as overall star rating and nursing home services.
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How to Compare Nursing Homes
The site also allows users to display up to 3 nursing homes side-by-side to compare each facility. To use this feature, click the green “Add to Compare” button below the nursing home name. When you have selected 2 or 3 separate nursing homes, click the gray “Compare Now” button. Nursing Home Compare will then display the homes you have selected in separate columns so you can easily identify key differences.
What You Need to Know About the ‘Do Not Proceed’ Icon
As of October 23rd, facilities with recent abuse, neglect, or exploitation citations are labeled with a red icon resembling an open-palm hand. According to CMS, this icon is part of a larger, five-step plan to increase transparency and allow families to make informed decisions.
Any facility that received a citation for abuse (whether or not they actually harmed the resident) within the past year will receive the icon. Every month, the icon will be updated, giving facilities the opportunity to correct issues and get the icon removed.
Some are concerned that CMS has not established a standard or consistent definition of abuse and neglect. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, believes CMS should record abuse and neglect separately, as well as add customer satisfaction to the website as an additional quality assessment. Others are concerned because the citation and survey systems may be inconsistent.
Ultimately, CMS believes the icon will benefit both facilities and residents. “Through the ‘transparency’ pillar of our five-part strategy to ensure safety and quality in nursing homes, we are giving residents and families the ability to make informed choices,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. She explains that the icon will “incentivize nursing homes to compete on cost and quality.”
Is Your Family Recovering from an Abusive or Neglectful Facility?
At Brown & Barron, LLC, our legal team refuses to allow caretakers to get away with any degree of negligence. We have over 7 decades of experience fighting for compensation on behalf of Baltimore families, and we look forward to doing the same for you.
For your convenience, we are available 24/7. Schedule your appointment with our team or call us directly at (410) 547-0202 today.
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