Although serious quality problems in nursing homes have declined, the rate of such incidents "remains unacceptably high," the General Accounting Office said in a new report. During an 18-month period ended in January 2002, about 20% of nursing homes were cited for violations that resulted in actual harm or immediate jeopardy to residents. That's down from 29% of nursing homes during a similar time period ended in July 2000, the last time such data was analyzed. In addition, states are under-reporting problems with care that cause actual harm because of confusion about the definition of harm and inadequate review of surveys, the GAO report said. "Continued attention is required to help ensure compliance with federal requirements," it said. The report recommended strengthening surveys of nursing homes, developing clearer guidance for surveyors and developing additional guidance on investigating complaints. -- by Tony Fong
Nursing home problems still too frequent: GAO
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