New tool allows analysis of nursing-home deficiencies across the country; Kentucky seems to rank high in serious problems

Reporters now have a tool at their fingertips that will allow them to find nursing home problems in facilities across Kentucky, which appears to ranks high in serious problems.(iStock photo)

The tool was launched this week by ProPublica, a nonprofit, investigative news group, and allows “anyone to easily search and analyze the details of recent nursing home inspections, most completed since January 2011,” report Charles Ornstein and Lena Groeger.

The tool has features that the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare doesn’t have, including the ability to search using any keyword. Results can also be sorted according to the severity of the violation and by state.
About 1.5 million people still live in nursing homes nationwide, though more seniors are living at home or in assisted-living facilities. The reports show there were almost 118,000 deficiencies cited against 14,565 homes. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the average number of deficiencies for a nursing home inspected in the U.S. is eight and the average in Kentucky is seven.

ProPublica’s analysis shows Kentucky ranked fourth nationwide for the most “K” and “L” deficiencies, considered the most serious kind. The state had 45 in the analysis, as did South Carolina. Texas had the most in the country by far, however, with 183. 

While ProPublica does rank the states, nursing home industry officials say “inspectors in different regions of the country have different thresholds for issuing a citation, and that could unfairly make one state’s homes appear worse than another’s,” Ornstein and Groeger report. (Read more)
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