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Joint alert from the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Long Term Care Community Coalition.

NHC Abuse Icon
New Icon

On October 7, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes to Nursing Home Compare that make it easier for residents and families to identify facilities with a history of resident abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Starting on October 23rd of this year, consumers will see a new icon (a red circle with a hand—at right) on a facility’s Nursing Home Compare profile if that facility has been cited for either or both of the following deficiencies:

  1. A harm-level (scope and severity level G or higher) abuse citation on the most recent standard survey cycle or complaint survey within the past 12 months.
  2. An abuse citation where residents were found to be potentially harmed (scope and severity level D or higher) on the most recent standard survey cycle or complaint survey within the past 12 months and on the previous standard survey cycle or complaint survey in the prior 12 months.

Additionally, revisions to the Five Star Technical Users’ Guide reveal that facilities meeting either of these criteria will have their health inspection rating “capped at a maximum of two stars . . .  [and that] the best overall quality rating a facility that has received the abuse icon can have is four stars.”

The changes come after several years of increased recognition of, and concern about, nursing home resident abuse. Most recently, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held two hearings on resident abuse and federal reports issued this past summer documented persistent, widespread resident abuse across the country.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) thank CMS for taking steps to improve nursing home transparency. Our organizations look forward to working with CMS to ensure that the new icon is beneficial to nursing home residents and their families.

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