Many 5-star nursing homes have infection control issues

Federal regulators have cited nursing homes for basic infection control deficiencies more than any other violation since 2017, according to a report from Kaiser Health News.

KHN analyzed inspection reports and data from CMS' Nursing Home Compare site for facilities nationwide from 2017 to present.

Five things to know:

1. In total, regulators cited 9,372 nursing homes for at least one infection control issue, representing 61 percent of facilities nationwide.

2. Forty percent of nursing homes with five stars for overall quality have received an infection control-related citation between 2017 and present.

3. About 99 percent of infection control violations were minor and did not warrant any fines. The issues often involved basic failures such as healthcare workers not washing their hands before seeing their next patient or not wearing personal protective equipment around patients in isolation.

4. About half (53 percent) of nursing homes with five stars for staffing levels have received an infection control citation since 2017, compared to 65 percent of homes with one star for staffing.

5. The findings come as nursing homes nationwide prepare for a potential influx of residents with COVID-19. David Gifford, MD, CMO of American Health Care Association —the nation's main nursing home trade group — said the facilities have prevention plans in place to deal with coronavirus.

"We prepare for seasonal influenza every year — it's very similar to that," he told KHN.

To view the full report, click here.

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