Nursing homes underreport pressure ulcers to CMS, study finds

Nursing homes underreport hospitalizations of residents with pressure ulcers, a study published Aug. 4 in Medical Care found.

Researchers from the University of Chicago used pressure ulcer hospitalizations to measure how accurately nursing homes reported on resident safety issues to Nursing Home Compare, which CMS uses to create its star ratings. Pressure ulcers are one of many safety issues used by the government to determine the quality of nursing homes.

Researchers compared reporting for nursing homes and hospitalization records between 2011 and 2017 for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. They found nursing homes only reported around 70 percent of short-term hospitalizations and 60 percent of long-term hospitalizations.

"The current system that relies on nursing home-reported data to assess patient safety neither incentivizes accurate reporting nor adequately penalizes inaccurate reporting," the report states. "It may be possible for future research and policy to improve nursing home-reported data, but more immediate solutions are needed to properly surveil nursing home safety."

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