New Nursing Home Comparison Tool Launched by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

In the midst of growing reports of nursing home abuse, a new nursing home comparison tool has been launched by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The “mobile-ready applications” and improved IT tools are expected to make it easier for consumers to research hospital and nursing home quality, said Information Week. CMS redesigned its Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare websites, which will now enable more efficient web site navigation and access to critical information, including quality measures and nursing home inspection findings.

At a July 19 press conference, Shari M. Ling, MD, CMS’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said, “Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare allow Americans to make side-by-side comparisons of the nursing homes and hospitals in their area on a diverse range of metrics. These can range from specific medical standards, such as how many people are taking the appropriate medications following a surgical procedure, to the levels of patient satisfaction with a facility,” according to Information Week.

“The refinements improve the experience of navigation for the general public and also provide additional data that gives Americans more relevant information when using these compare tools,” Ling said. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have included new information on the ownership of nursing homes and have updated the data for the quality measures previously available on the site,” she added.

The Nursing Home Compare site now has specific findings from nursing home inspections, data anti-psychotic medication use, and the percentage of residents reporting moderate to severe pain during their stay, said Information Week. Hospital Compare now provides two measures that cover potential health risks linked to imaging services, including unnecessary radiation exposure, and also provides information on infection outbreak frequency and patient readmission rates. Navigation has been improved on both sites, which now offer large, easier maps for locating hospitals; new facility search functions; glossaries; and web resources, Ling told Information Week.

Meanwhile, another nursing home was faced with a lawsuit over complaints of alleged negligence. The lawsuit was filed by national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP on behalf of a woman admitted to Concourse Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Inc. in the Bronx, New York. Parker Waichman also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a New York woman who died, allegedly due to the negligence of Our Lady of Consolation Geriatric Care Center, located in West Islip, New York; on behalf of the estate of a Nassau County, New York, woman who died, allegedly, as a result of nursing home negligence on the part of the Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation; and on behalf of a Nassau County woman who suffered severe and permanent injuries from falls associated with negligence on the part of Grandell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, which is also being charged with violations of the New York Public Health Law and negligence and gross negligence, to name just some.

We’ve also written about medical errors in hospitals. In fact, a prior study conducted over six years and involving 2,341 hospital admissions in North Carolina revealed that 18 percent of patients were subject to at least one safety-related issue, with injuries ranging the gamut from minor problems to dangerous mistakes and even 14 fatalities. That study revealed that there was no decrease in injuries from 2002 to 2007 and followed a 1999 report issued by the Institute of Medicine in which it was discovered that medical errors led to a shocking 98,000 deaths and in excess of one million injuries.

We have also long written about the controversy over medical imaging. A recent report revealed that limiting such imaging can reduce breast cancer risks. Other, new studies have revealed that children who received several CT scans have increased risks for brain cancer and leukemia later in their lives; that girls exposed to chest radiation have increased risks for developing breast cancer; and that use of radiation-emitting medical tests are used far too often, increasing risks for a variety of diseases, including cancer.

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