A new government report indicates that over 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were far more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes. And in 17 percent of nursing homes the deficiencies caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients according to the Department of Health and Human Services report.
Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect of patients. Government inspectors received 37,150 complaints about conditions in nursing homes last year, and they substantiated 39 percent of them, the report said. About one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients.
About two-thirds of nursing homes are owned by for-profit companies, while 27 percent are owned by nonprofit organizations and 6 percent by government entities such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the report said.
The inspector general said 94 percent of for-profit nursing homes were cited for deficiencies last year, compared with 88 percent of nonprofit homes and 91 percent of government homes.
More than 1.5 million people live in the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes. The homes are typically inspected once a year and must meet federal standards as a condition of participating in Medicaid and Medicare, which cover more than two-thirds of their residents, at a cost of more than $75 billion a year. The government offers extensive information on nursing homes by geographic area at Nursing Home Compare.
Deficiency rates varied widely among states. The proportion of nursing homes cited for deficiencies ranged from 76 percent in Rhode Island to 100 percent in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and the District of Columbia. The average number of deficiencies also varied, from 2.5 deficiencies per nursing home in Rhode Island to 13.3 per home in Delaware.