The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the vast majority of nursing homes across the country not being certified to meet federal quality and safety requirements. HHS study found.
Government agencies acting on behalf of CMS are authorized to conduct on-site inspections at least once every 15 months, but CMS has suspended these inspections between March and August 2020 to reduce the risk of data transmission by the inspector.
While the states were able to resume polling by the end of 2020, the hiatus resulted in a significant lag. Analyzing CMS data, HHS found that 10,913 of 15,295 nursing facilities – 71% – had not gone at least 16 months without a routine survey as of May 31, 2021.
Delays ranged from 22% of non-survey nursing homes in New Mexico to 96% in Connecticut.
Another problem is that the federal government prioritized research to control infections during the pandemic, with nearly 40,000 more people in 2020 than in the previous two years, according to the American Health Association and the National Center. help during life.
“We are faced with a global emergency where frontline personnel had to focus all their energies on protecting our most vulnerable,” AHCA / NCAL said in a statement.
While the move to infection control surveys was understandable earlier during the pandemic, Joyce Greenleaf, HHS Regional Inspector General in Boston, said the lag is currently alarming as families cannot be sure their loved ones are safe in nursing homes. or as a requirement is met.
HHS ‘December 2020 report found that states also faced a backlog of nursing home surveys in the early stages of the pandemic, with 8% of nursing homes not conducting a routine survey for at least 16 months as of June 2020.
Infection control surveys should be conducted in only 20% of nursing homes at the discretion of the states, said Danielle Fletcher, deputy regional HHS inspector general in Boston, and mainly collects data that identifies risks to institutions and the community.
“This is not a substitute for a comprehensive survey covering most of the area,” Fletcher said. “[Standard surveys are] The main CMS tool for enforcing minimum standards. “
According to AHCA / NCAL, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the sector hard: 94% of nursing homes are understaffed and almost 75% say their staffing situation has deteriorated over the past year. interview…
The group also found that 66% of nursing home providers expect to close in 2021 due to modest gains, losses and increased costs in areas such as staffing.
According to Medicare, more than 78% of healthcare residents and 56% of staff are currently vaccinated, although there are large differences in vaccination rates between states.