The Health and Human Services Department has unveiled a public database that provides unprecedented access to information about who owns nursing homes.
The database, which debuted Monday, contains information about who owns the 15,000 skilled nursing facilities that Medicare reimburses and could offer regulators and the public with insights into the often opaque nature of nursing home company structures.
The HHS initiative is part of a broader set of nursing home policies President Joe Biden first outlined during the State of the Union address in February. Biden also proposed plans to address overcrowding, set staffing requirements and increase inspections.
This information will help states keep tabs on owners of nursing homes who have records of poor performance and shed light on how ownership impacts quality of care, according to HHS
“We’re taking another major step forward in improving transparency in health care,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a news release. “Researchers, states, regulators and others will be able to use this new data source to learn more about the impacts that nursing home ownership structures have on the care provided to residents.”
Biden cited the heavy toll of COVID-19 on nursing home residents and employees when announcing his plans. More than 157,000 nursing home residents and 2,600 workers have died from COVID-19, according to CMS data.
While the pandemic spotlighted challenges facing long-term care facilities, strains on nursing homes aren’t new. In 2020, the Government Accountability Office found that at least one infection prevention and control error at more than 80% of nursing homes.