Inspection reports detailing unsafe conditions and improper care of patients at nursing homes are now available online from the federal government.
The government’s Nursing Home Compare website has been updated to include the surveyor’s reports, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today.
Additionally, the site was updated to include other information about the percentage of patients receiving antipsychotic medications and more detailed information about the ownership of nursing homes.
Dr. Shari M. Ling, deputy chief medical officer at CMS, said during a call with reporters that there is an effort to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home patients.
There are instances, she said, when the use of the medications is warranted to protect the health and safety of patients and medical staff, but that behavioral therapies and environmental modifications can take the place of the powerful drugs. She also noted that symptoms related to severe depression, anxiety and pain can sometimes mimic those of psychosis.
The site, which received more than 500,000 visitors during the first half of 2012, is intended to provide consumers and the general public more insight into the operations and quality of care offered at individual nursing homes and compare different facilities with each other as well as the state and national averages. The increased transparency is also aimed improving operations of the nursing homes and health of patients.
For years inspection reports, which are conducted by state health inspectors on behalf of CMS, have been available in Virginia only by requesting a copy at the individual nursing home or filing a request with the Virginia Department of Health under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
In addition to unveiling the new nursing home information, CMS also revealed updates to its Hospital Compare website. The hospital updates did not include links to the inspection reports done by hospital surveyors, but it included new measures for weighing the quality of health care being provided by hospitals. New measures seek to provide information on the potential health risks of exposure to unnecessary radiation by assessing the use of imaging services like CT scans.