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Abuse Icon to Affect 46 Ohio Nursing Homes: Call To Action

In last week’s newsletter, LeadingAge Ohio alerted providers that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had announced that Nursing Home Compare would be updated in October to identify nursing homes with a history of abuse citations. Based on the data currently available on Nursing Home Compare, there are 46 nursing homes in Ohio that meet the criteria to be impacted by the icon. Of the 46 nursing homes, six are identified as non-profit. 

CMS is adding an icon to highlight facilities that meet either of the following criteria: 

1) Harm-level abuse citation in the most recent survey cycle: Facilities cited for abuse where residents were found to be harmed (Scope/Severity of G or higher) on the most recent standard survey or on a complaint survey within the past 12 months. 

2) Repeat abuse citations: Facilities cited for abuse where residents were found to be potentially harmed (Scope/Severity of D or higher) on the most recent standard survey or on a complaint survey within the past 12 months and on the previous (i.e., second most recent) standard survey or on a complaint survey in the prior 12 months (i.e., from 12 to 24 months ago). 

CMS released two Quality, Safety & Oversight memos (QSO-20-02-NH and QSO-20-01-NH).

The five star technical user guide has also been updated to reflect the October changes.

Katie Smith Sloan, President/CEO of LeadingAge, has written to Seema Verma, Administrator, CMS, to express concern on behalf of LeadingAge and its members regarding the implementation of the Consumer Alert Icon.  She concludes her letter by urging “CMS to continue its efforts to make Nursing Home Compare more intuitively useful and less complicated for consumers.”  She notes that  the consumer alert icon is  “a step in the wrong direction.”  We encourage nursing home and life plan community members to send an email to Seema Verma at urging her not to implement the Consumer Alert Icon!  TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

Talking Points on
CMS Consumer Alert Icon

  • LeadingAge opposes the use of the Consumer Alert Icon in Nursing Home Compare to identify nursing homes that have been cited for abuse and neglect. CMS should not put this new tool in place on October 23rd.

  • Abuse and neglect must never be tolerated.  But the icon doesn’t provide consumers with adequate information, for example, to discern between a case where a resident did not endure harm and the staff person was immediately fired versus a situation where a residentendured physical harm.  To someone looking for the right nursing home, a red stop sign is a red stop sign.

  • People seeking nursing home care for a loved one are at a notoriously difficult point in their lives.  They’ve made a tough decision to seek residential care and want the warmest, most homelike, safest setting where their family member will receive exceptionalcare and be treated with respect.

  • Families deserve the best we can offer in terms of transparency when seeking care for their loved ones.  The Alert icon is a blunt tool that muddies the choices.  It is a disservice to consumers that can lead to confusion during a very difficult time.

  • The icon adds nothing to the information already available in Nursing Home
    Compare and is likely to cause unnecessary worry to many residents and family members of people already living in a nursing home.

  • Beyond that, the Consumer Alert Icon is demoralizing for providers and their staff who passionately care about what happens to the people they serve, including LeadingAge’s 2,000 members who operate not for profit nursing homes.

  • We owe it to residents, their family members, and the people who provide nursing home care to fix the broken survey system that sweeps all “abuse and neglect” incidents under one un-nuanced umbrella.

Feel free to forward or consult with LeadingAge Ohio on any media inquiries. Questions can be forwarded to Patrick Schwartz, Director of Strategic Communications at LeadingAge Ohio,        

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.