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March 16, 2021

In this Issue:

  1. Materials Available from Consumer Voice Webinar on Revised Nursing Home Visitation Guidance
  2. Senate Committee on Finance Hearing Tomorrow on COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
  3. HHS OIG Report on CMS Use of Nursing Home Staffing Data
  4. Study Finds High Nursing Staff Turnover in Nursing Homes
  5. Working Paper Looks at Effects of Private Equity Investment on Welfare of Patients in Nursing Homes
  6. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th

Materials Available from Consumer Voice Webinar on Revised Nursing Home Visitation Guidance

Materials are available from the Consumer Voice webinar on the recent revised nursing home visitation guidance.  After months of advocacy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released revised visitation guidance on March 10.  This webinar provided an overview of the revised guidance, presented by Evan Shulman, Director, Division of Nursing Homes, CMS. Along with his overview, Evan answered a few of Consumer Voice's questions about the guidance. We also shared Consumer Voice's initial thoughts about the guidance and next advocacy steps.

View Webinar Materials


The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent visitation ban have resulted in tens of thousands of residents suffering and dying from isolation, loneliness, and poor care.

Visit Consumer Voice's webpage dedicated to honoring and remembering those we’ve lost and hearing directly from residents and family members about their experiences during the lockdown.

Senate Committee on Finance Hearing Tomorrow on COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance is holding a hearing tomorrow, March 17th at 10:00am ET entitled "A National Tragedy: COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes."  Witnesses include: Adelina Ramos, Certified Nursing Assistant, SEIU District 1199 New England; Denise Bottcher, State Director, AARP Louisiana; Quiteka Moten, MPH, CDP, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Tennessee; R. Tamara Koetzka, Ph.D., Louis Block Professor of Public Health Sciences, The University of Chicago; John Dicke, Director, Health Care, U.S. Government Accountability Office; and David Gifford, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, American Health Care Association.

Watch the Livestream

HHS OIG Report on CMS Use of Data on Nursing Home Staffing Data

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released a report on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) use of data on nursing home staffing. In April 2018, CMS began updating staffing information on Nursing Home Compare, which was a public website, with a new source for staffing data. In December 2020, CMS moved these data to a new website, called Care Compare, that contains the same staffing information for consumers that Nursing Home Compare did. The HHS OIG report found that while CMS has taken important steps to build a new source for data on nursing home staffing and to use these data to better inform consumers and improve nursing home oversight, there are still opportunities for improvement to better use the staffing information that nursing homes report.  HHS OIG recommends that CMS (1) provide data to consumers on nurse staff turnover and tenure, as required by Federal law; (2) ensure the accuracy of non-nurse staffing data used on Care Compare; (3) consider residents' level of need when identifying nursing homes for weekend inspections; and (4) take additional steps to strengthen oversight of nursing home staffing.

Read the summary and the full report.

Study Finds High Nursing Staff Turnover in Nursing Homes

A new report published in HealthAffairs entitled "High Nursing Staff Turnover In Nursing Homes Offers Important Quality Information" examines staff turnover using national data from the CMS Payroll Based Journal system.  The study found that from 2017-2018, average annual staff turnover rates were roughly 100%, suggesting the entire staff turns over annually at a typical facility. This result has major implications for nursing home quality of care, especially in the context of COVID-19 where staff turnover has likely even been higher.  The report goes on to argue that turnover should be added to the federal Nursing Home Compare website to help consumers choose lower turnover, higher quality nursing homes.

Read the Report

Working Paper Looks at Effects of Private Equity Investment on Welfare of Patients in Nursing Homes

Private Equity (PE) investment in healthcare could lead for-profit incentives to be misaligned with the goal of affordable, quality care.  A newly published working paper looks at the effects of PE ownership on patient welfare in nursing homes.  The paper found that "PE ownership increases the short-term mortality of Medicare patients by 10%, implying 20,150 lives lost due to PE ownership over our twelve-year sample period."  Operational changes including declines in nursing staff and compliance with standards could explain these effects.  The paper also documents "a systematic shift in operating costs post-acquisition toward non-patient care items such as monitoring fees, interest, and lease payments."

Read the Working Paper

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15th.  WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to bring attention to the issue of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The National Center on Elder Abuse has provided new and updated tools to generate awareness about elder abuse.  Suggested activities can take place online or be adapted for social distancing.

Visit the WEAAD Website

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