The Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes laid out 27 recommendations for CMS. The 186-page report was released by the independent research firm MITRE Corporation. The recommendations list seven areas that need improvement to protect residents:
- Supply and affordability related to testing, screening, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Urgent need to hire, train, support, protect, and respect direct-care providers
- Insufficient corporate funding for quality nursing home operations, workforce performance, and resident safety.
- Infection control measures and quality of life issues that exist in cohorting and visitation policies
- A call for transparent and accessible communications with residents, their representatives and loved ones, and the public
- Outdated infrastructure of many nursing-home facilities
- Opportunities to create and organize guidance to owners and administrators that is more actionable and to obtain data from nursing homes that is more meaningful for action and research
The emphasis is on a national testing strategy and providing operators with access to PPE. However, Trump blocks CMS from even considering the recommendations. Instead, CMS released an updated tip sheet justifying the agency’s mismanagement of quality data on the consumer-facing Nursing Home Compare website.
Missing Data Hurts Quality
Trump will continue allowing the nursing home industry to ignore reporting requirements for nursing homes during the pandemic. The pause will create a lack of data on quality measures, infections, incidents, and staffing. CMS’s public data lags behind by several quarters. The missing data will have a long-lasting impact on Nursing Home Compare.
The fourth-quarter 2019 data and most of 2020 would be optional. No submissions required. Incredible windfall for the industry. This will hurt consumers who rely on Nursing Home Compare. However, enough providers reported Q4 2019 data to include in the October refresh.
Public reporting resumes in January 2022. No reporting in 2021? The next Nursing Home Compare refresh is scheduled for April 2022. Trump keeps giving away gifts and benefits to the nursing home industry. Despite the horrible response to the coronavirus, the industry is rewarded with less oversight and enforcement of safe practices. This includes infection prevention and control practices.