U.S. Begins Issuing Consumer Data on Nursing Homes
New York Times (04/25/02) p.A27; Pear, Robert

The Bush Administration unveiled data on the quality of care at nursing homes in Florida, Maryland, Colorado, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington. The project--which is sponsored by AARP, two nursing home industry trade associations, and the Service Employees International Union--is intended to help consumers select nursing homes and to encourage the homes to correct deficiencies. The data was compiled from required information submitted to the government by the homes as a condition of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, but some physicians claim that the data can be misleading because some residents are more ill than others when admitted. The data identifies a proportion of residents with bed sores, in physical restraints, who lost too much weight, who are suffering pain, who need extra help with daily activities, and who have certain infections. The government hopes to expand the project to include data on doctors and hospitals. However, the statistics do not include information on employee to patient ratios or the number of complaints received about each home. Government officials also caution that consumers should inspect the homes themselves, observe the quality of care received, and ask for state inspection reports.

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