The U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) compiles reports on nearly 15,000 nursing homes scattered throughout the U.S. The inspection reports cover nearly 118,000 deficiencies at those homes. Although the CMS publishes these reports online, it is an enormous amount of information to try and analyze for consumers and professionals alike. Enter Nursing Home Inspect.
We’ve touched on it before, but it is such a helpful new tool that it’s worth reiterating.
Nursing Home Inspect is a new app whose search engine makes it easier for consumers to search the CMS reports and get a better picture of the instances of “deficiencies” at nursing homes throughout the country. These apps are a crucial way that local residents can be better informed when making decisions regarding nursing homes. Nursing Home Inspect’s search engine allows one to search across all of the reports available by keyword, city and specific nursing home names; options that the CMS web site does not offer.
An article in ProPublica recently enlightened readers as to how better utilize the search options that Nursing Home Inspect offers. One of the key items to remember is that the results of these inspections are just a “snapshot” of these homes and that they are based on “deficiencies” and complaints–eliminating the ability to find positive attributes of these homes within the reports. It is also important to remember that simply because a home had a deficiency in a particular inspection, might not mean that the home is “subpar.” Since these reports are written in narrative form, it is also important to try multiple search words to maximize your search results since different people write the reports and may not use the same terms or descriptions.
This app might obviously get a lot of use from individuals who are interested in moving to one nursing home or another. However, elder law attorneys utilize this app to investigate nursing homes for various reasons. An individual might file a claim against a nursing home for abuse or neglect. The attorney can then use this app to find out if there have been similar complaints against the nursing home to help strengthen the case. If the attorney finds numerous complaints at a particular home or at homes run by the same company, then it might be an indication of a bigger problem. This app helps to ensure that nursing homes address the deficiencies and complaints found in these reports because of the ease with which individuals can search out and avoid homes who exhibit sub par services.
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ProPublica is Launching a New App: Nursing Home Inspect