The CMS should create a national watch list to alert the public about nursing homes that fall short of federal health and safety standards, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced today. The ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee based his request on an April report from the Government Accountability Office, which examined 63 nursing homes in four states and found that 31 had a spotty compliance record over a five-year period.
GAO found that the sanctions CMS has imposed have had little effect, Grassley wrote in a letter to Herb Kuhn, the agencys acting deputy administrator. Too often, these sanctions are rescinded prior to their effective dates as repeat offender homes yo-yo in and out of compliance by using grace periods to correct deficiencies temporarily. By doing so, they continue to harm their residents while avoiding the sanctions, the letter stated.
The GAO made several recommendations on how to step up enforcement, but Grassley thought the CMS should go a few steps further by identifying nursing homes that repeatedly fall out of compliance on its Nursing Home Compare Web site.
This watch list should be accessible to the public online, identify homes that are repeat offenders and provide information on the enforcement actions taken against these homes, Grassley wrote. A CMS spokesman had no comment. Our Office of Legislation will process it promptly, he said of the Grassley letter. -- by Jennifer Lubell