About 5 percent of nursing homes — or 760 of 15,262 facilities — have been tagged with an icon alerting consumers of abuse, neglect or exploitation citations since CMS updated its Nursing Home Compare website Oct. 23, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The database is updated monthly, and entries for flagged nursing homes include inspection reports detailing abuse or neglect issues. A Maryland nursing home, for example, was tagged with the red icon for failing to inform a physician for weeks of maggots in a cancer patient’s wound, according to an inspection report cited by the WSJ.
CMS implemented the icons after numerous government agencies revealed reports of increasing abuse or neglect at nursing homes earlier this year.
The rate of nursing home complaints has increased from 32.7 complaints per 1,000 residents in 2011 to 52.3 per 1,000 in 2018, according to an Office of Inspector General report cited by the WSJ. Almost half of the 71,602 complaints filed in 2018 were considered high-priority because they caused or could have caused harm to residents.
Some nursing home industry leaders say the icons could unfairly mar the reputation of certain facilities, citing varied state inspection standards and a loose definition of abuse.
Many consumer advocates have welcomed the icon on Nursing Home Compare, though some believe the system still fails to catch many instances of abuse.