CMS website data is flawed on nursing home patient falls, researchers say

CMS-sponsored website Nursing Home Compare, which reports quality data from U.S. nursing homes, may be using inaccurate data to report patient safety related to falls, according to a study published in Health Services Research.

Nursing Home Compare serves as a resource for families researching nursing home options.

Researchers examined a data set of nearly 88.7 million Medicare admissions claims for nursing home residents from 2011 to 2015. They identified 150,828 major falls that occurred in the nursing home and that led to hospitalizations.

However, researchers found that the data used by Nursing Home Compare and self-reported by nursing homes accounted for only 57.5 percent of these falls. Reporting rates were higher for white residents (59 percent) than nonwhite residents (46 percent).

"This is a substantial amount of underreporting and it is deeply concerning because without good measurement, we cannot identify nursing homes that may be less safe and in need of improvement," said Prachi Sanghavi, PhD, lead researcher and an assistant professor in public health sciences at the University of Chicago.

"[CMS Nursing Home Compare] should use an objective source, like claims data," she said. "It should be relatively easy for them to do, since they already have the data."

More articles on post-acute care:
More people dying at home than hospitals, study finds
Maine govenor passes bill that increases nursing home funds
Ohio bill would allow cameras in nursing homes to reduce abuse

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