Report Finds That More Than 91% of Nursing Homes Violate Federal Health and Safety Laws in Each of the Past Three Years

More than 91 % of U.S. nursing homes were cited last year for violating at least one federal health and safety law in each of the past three years,  the-new-york-times reported recently. During the same time period, a greater percentage of for-profit nursing homes were cited for violations than not-for-profit and government nursing homes.

About 17 percent of nursing homes had violations that led to “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to residents, according to the report by the inspector general to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Citations were issued for violations including infected bedsores, drug errors, resident malnutrition, and patient abuse or neglect.

About 37,150 complaints were sent to inspectors last year about nursing home conditions, of which 39 % were validated, the report said. Some 20 % of the verified complaints involved patient abuse or neglect.

Deficiency rates varied widely among states. The proportion of nursing homes cited for deficiencies ranged from 76 percent in Rhode Island to 100 percent in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and the District of Columbia. The percentage of nursing homes in New Jersey with deficiencies in 2007 was 92.2 %.

More than 1.5 million people live in the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes. The homes are typically inspected once a year and must meet federal standards as a condition of participating in Medicare and Medicaid, which cover more than two-thirds of their residents, at a cost of more than $75 billion a year.

The DHHS report is entitled trends-in-nursing-home-deficiencies-and-complaints.