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OIG Audit Finds CMS Underreported Nursing Home Quality Issues on Care Compare Website for Up to Two-Thirds of Nursing Homes

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On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), State survey agencies perform inspections of Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes to determine whether they are in compliance with Federal health, fire safety, and emergency preparedness requirements. State survey agency surveyors cite instances of noncompliance as deficiencies and report inspection results to CMS. CMS makes the inspection results available on Care Compare, a CMS website that provides information on health care providers that consumers can use to make informed decisions about health care.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit to determine whether CMS accurately reported on Care Compare the deficiencies related to health, fire safety, and emergency preparedness that were identified during inspections of nursing homes. They selected a random sample of 100 nursing homes from among 15,377 nursing homes nationwide. For each sampled nursing home, they compared the deficiencies that had been reported on Care Compare as of December 10, 2020, with the deficiencies that State survey agency surveyors had documented in inspection reports from the three most recent yearly health, fire safety, and emergency preparedness inspections and the results of the most recent 3 years of complaint inspections.

The audit found, for 67 of the 100 sampled nursing homes, CMS did not accurately report on Care Compare 1 or more deficiencies that surveyors identified during yearly and complaint inspections. The deficiencies consisted of health deficiencies for 34 nursing homes, fire safety deficiencies for 52 nursing homes, and emergency preparedness deficiencies for 2 nursing homes. In addition, for 42 of the 100 sampled nursing homes, CMS did not report on Care Compare the results of all yearly fire safety and emergency preparedness inspections.

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