New Tool Searches Nursing Home Deficiencies

October 25, 2012
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A consumer-targeted Internet tool allows users to search the federal nursing home inspection reports and deficiencies by keyword, city and facility name.

 
The Nursing Home Inspect database covers nearly 118,000 deficiencies at 14,565 homes. It was designed by ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism.
 
Nursing Home Inspect uses data from surveyor reports published on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. But with Nursing Home Inspect, users can now search the database by keywords such as “elopement” or “pressure sore” or “mistreat.” Unlike the CMS site, Nursing Home Inspect allows searches by keyword and city, as well as a home’s name. Also unlike CMS, the app allows you to search across all the reports at once.
The ProPublica project hones in on the narrative part of a surveyor’s most recent periodic review, where the conditions and deficiencies are described. A tipsheet from the group cautions users that inspection reports focus only on a given facility’s problems, not the accomplishments or improvements that home has made, and describes the results as giving a “snapshot.”

Although the government is reporting nursing home deficiencies online, it does not report how homes plan to fix the problems. These “Plans of Correction” can be viewed at the nursing home or by submitting a FOIA request to the government.

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