Better nursing home protections are needed for future health emergencies, says a data brief from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG). [JAMA Network]
The new OIG report found that during the first year of the pandemic, bimonthly COVID-19 or likely COVID-19 diagnosis rates among Medicare beneficiaries peaked at 75% or higher at 1358 nursing homes nationwide. “For-profit nursing homes made up a disproportionate percentage of these homes,” the report’s authors wrote. The result was mortality close to 20%, or about double that in facilities with lower diagnosis rates.
The report recommends examining and revising as necessary nurse staffing requirements; improving how surveys identify infection control risks; and providing more oversight and technical assistance to homes found to be at high infection risk.