Stop EA Calls for Change to Medicare Auditing of Nursing Homes Star-rating

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Nursing homes boast of 5-star ratings that are self-reported and can be based on old, inaccurate or fraudulent data with little to no confirmation of the self-reported statistics. STOP urges the public to be cautious of Medicare.gov star ratings for nursing homes and independently investigate the skilled nursing facility to help prevent elder abuse and neglect of loved ones.

STOP EA - Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

They often know when inspectors will show up and add workers just beforehand and sharply cut staff immediately afterward. And the quality data compiled by the nursing homes themselves... is obviously subject to manipulation.

Stop EA (Elder Abuse) is calling for a change in the way in which Medicare monitors nursing homes. One of the main problems stems from Medicare’s rating system, a lot of which is based on information provided by the nursing homes to the government that is not verified.

A recent New York Times article entitled, "Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Game the System" and a follow-up editorial in The New York Times, "When Five Star Care is Substandard" pointed out that nursing homes game the system:

"They often know when inspectors will show up and add workers just beforehand and sharply cut staff immediately afterward. And the quality data compiled by the nursing homes themselves — such as how many patients develop bedsores or experience serious falls — is obviously subject to manipulation," the editorial reads.

Stop EA, like The New York Times, is calling for change. Specifically, that Medicare should analyze nursing home statistics more carefully and expand its auditing program.

"Nursing home chains should not be able to mask serious deficiencies in their facilities by being allowed to submit data that is not audited. The lives of our loved ones are on the line," said Jay Renneisen, a Stop EA attorney. "Changes in the system could help prevent the abuse and even death that sometimes comes from substandard care in nursing homes."

Staffing and data related to staffing at nursing homes is immensely important. A nursing home that admits patients who need more acute care than the average patient at other facilities, should staff at levels above the comparative average in the state. Medicare pays facilities much more for patients who need acute care based on its assumption that facilities will dedicate more nursing time to care for these sicker, more complicated patients. Some of the facilities, however, do not increase their staffing to cover these patients. Studies have conclusively established that understaffing results in patient neglect. One such study, "Relationship of Nursing Home Staffing to Quality of Care,"compared nursing homes that report different staffing statistics on quality of care and found that nursing homes that had higher rates of staffing performed "significantly better on 13 of 16 care processes implemented" by nurse aides compared to homes with lower staffing rates.

The Stop EA campaign, a California law firm and collection of elder advocates founded by three experienced elder abuse attorneys, seeks justice for families whose loved one’s have been harmed in these facilities and tries to make sure that the same thing does not happen to the next vulnerable, unsuspecting family.

Those who are concerned about the quality of care their loved ones received (or are receiving) in a nursing home or assisted living facility can obtain a free, private case evaluation from Stop EA by calling 1-866-864-1800. For more information on the campaign, identifying more symptoms of neglect and informational videos, visit stopea.org.

STOP EA Contact / Spokesperson: Jay Renneisen 916-442-6000.

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Jay Renneisen
Stop EA
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since: 08/2013
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