In the last two years, taxpayers have given billions of dollars to the nursing home industry. The money was rolling in all of 2020. The help allowed nursing homes to survive but the quality of care decreases and unsafe staffing continued. Transparency is needed to determine where all the money went and why resident outcomes did not improve.
CMS must require transparency regarding nursing home financials and ownership. The industry needs to stop placing profits over people. Of course, so much money gets diverted or siphoned to related entities to make the nursing homes appear unprofitable. It is a disgrace.
The current Administration announced another windfall to the industry. Another $2.1 billion investment meant for infection prevention and control activities. However, it is unclear if the money will go to infection control instead of corporate pockets. People should understand that real estate and related companies owned by operators impact the overall bottom line for facilities.
$500 million should go toward the staffing, training and deployment of state-based nursing home and long-term care “strike teams.” CDC said it will partner with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow state and other health departments to send out teams to help facilities with “known or suspected COVID-19 outbreaks.”
Another $385 million expands Project Firstline, an infection prevention and control educational program for frontline health care workers; increase data monitoring via National Healthcare Safety network (NHSN); and address health disparities related to antibiotic use. Seems vague and ambiguous.
Nursing home expert Dr. Michael Wasserman said:
“The system is set up to be opaque. We need more clarity, we need more transparency, we need to all be able to look in the mirror and know who’s responsible for what.”