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National Analysis Finds Nursing Home Compare Staffing Data Often Wildly Inaccurate

On October 26, 2016, PennLive reported that its national analysis of 11,000 nursing homes found that nearly half had registered nursing (RN) levels on Nursing Home Compare that were 50 percent higher than shown in their federal reimbursement reports. The PennLive report, Think your nursing home is understaffed? It’s probably worse than it looks, is part of its continuing series, Failing the Frail.  

The national analysis compared RN hours in two sets of data self-reported by nursing homes. The first set includes unaudited staffing reports completed by nursing homes during their annual inspections. The staffing levels compiled from these reports is reported on Nursing Home Compare and CMS uses it to calculate the staffing component of each nursing home’s Five-Star Rating. The second data set contains the Medicare/Medicaid cost reports filed with the federal government.

The analysis found that nearly half of nursing homes across the nation appear to be significantly inflating their RN staffing levels on Nursing Home Compare.

PennLive created a national searchable database, Is your nursing home inflating its staffing level?, that allows the public to compare, by facility, the RN staffing levels reported on Nursing Home Compare with the levels reported in the Medicare/Medicaid cost reports. Most California nursing homes are included. In some cases, the RN staffing levels on Nursing Home Compare exceed the levels shown in the Medicare/Medicaid cost reports by over 1,000 percent.