High Nursing Home Staffing Levels Equal Better Care

By Richard F. Hitz of Carlson & Burnett

A series of investigative reports by the Center for Public Integrity in 2014 began public awareness that nursing homes were over-reporting the amount of medical staff working in their nursing homes. The Center for Public Integrity’s investigation determined that greater than 80% of nursing homes reported staffing levels that were higher than what they really were. The investigation also found that 25% of nursing homes nationwide reported staffing levels that were at least two times as high as their actual levels.

In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated nursing homes begin transitioning from self-reporting their own staffing amounts to using payroll-based systems to report staffing.

Nursing homes are required by state and federal regulations to meet certain minimum levels of staffing to meet the needs of their patients. Carlson & Burnett attorney Rich Hitz has been an advocate for nursing home residents since 2004. “Lawyers who have spent their careers representing nursing home residents have long been concerned a major factor in almost every nursing home neglect injury can be traced back to low staffing levels,” said Hitz.

The public can check the staffing levels of a local nursing home by using the CMS Five-Star Quality Rating System website. This website is designed to help families, caregivers, and consumers more easily compare nursing homes when searching for a local facility.

The website features a quality rating system giving each nursing facility a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes with 1 star are considered far below average in quality, while those with 5 stars are considered excellent quality. Look for the column on the website titled “Staffing” to help you find a nursing home with a high star rating for staffing. More staffing means better care.

If you or a family member has been injured in a nursing home contact our Omaha Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Carlson & Burnett to schedule a free case evaluation at (402) 810-8611.

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