Report Finds that State Surveyors are Still Missing Quality of Care Issues in Nursing Facilities

State agencies responsible for assessing nursing homes' compliance with quality standards are unfortunately still missing serious care deficiencies that are sometimes later identified by CMS inspectors, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office.

The report, by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), noted that the inconsistency between federal surveys and state reports has decreased somewhat, signaling some improvement in catching problems that could lead to resident harm. Specifically, the percentage of federal surveys that found at least one serious, high-level deficiency missed by state survey teams dropped from 14.7% in 2007 to 12.3% in 2008.

The report still cautioned the state inspectors are often understating deficiencies in quality of care. “The gap between state inspectors and federal inspectors is shrinking, but not fast enough,” Grassley said in a news release.  The number of federal surveys that cited at least one missed lower-level care deficiencies has continued to climb, the report said.

“This report shows once again that federal inspectors are uncovering problems that state inspectors are not, a trend that Government Accountability Office has documented in previous studies,” Kohl said in the release. “While state surveyors are doing a commendable job with scarce financial resources, this report shows that Congress and the administration must do more work to bolster the survey system, both in terms of funding and a more standardized survey process.” For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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