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NHC Abuse Icon

New Icon

On October 23, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began use of a new “abuse icon” on Nursing Home Compare. Consumers using the website will now be alerted when a nursing home has been cited for an abuse violation in the past year or over each of the past two years, depending on the level of harm. CMS is advising consumers who come across this new icon to “ask the administrator or other staff about what they’re doing to keep residents safe from abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or exploitation.”

While the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Long Term Care Community Coalition thank CMS for helping consumers identify nursing homes with a history of abuse, our organizations remind consumers that the absence of an abuse icon on Nursing Home Compare does not necessarily indicate the absence of abuse. Federal reports over the last few decades have documented that state survey agencies (health inspectors) have missed problems and failed to cite violations. Moreover, violations indicating the existence of abuse or potential abuse may be cited under other federal tags, resulting in their exclusion from this initiative.

We urge nursing home consumers to continue using all the resources available when choosing a nursing home for themselves or a loved one.

October 24, 2019 – D. Valanejad

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