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STUDY: Staffing Deficiencies in Nursing Homes Are Rarely Cited

March 20, 2014

Citations for inadequate nursing home staffing are rare despite evidence that staff shortages are widespread, a study shows.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, which conducted the study, found that in 2013, state survey agencies issued staffing-deficiency citations to only 367 of the country’s 16,100 total nursing homes.

The study found just nine staffing-deficiency citations in 2013 in which nursing homes were found to put residents in harm’s way, and three in which they put residents in “immediate jeopardy.”

Yet, a 2001 report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) estimated that up to 91 percent of nursing homes lack the necessary staff to perform crucial caregiving tasks.

“Insufficient nurse staffing is rarely cited and even when the deficiency is cited at the highest level of harm to residents — immediate jeopardy — nursing facilities may not be sanctioned in any way,” the report states.

“Failure to enforce standards of care, including staffing requirements, harms residents,” it continues.

Punishments for staffing deficiencies include civil money penalties (CMPs) and denials of payment for new admissions.

Nursing home citations are publicly tracked at the website Data.Medicare.gov.

— by Matthew Ozga

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