In late August, members of the Congressional Seniors Task Force sent a letter to CMS requesting that staffing information for long term care facilities be provided through the payroll system, not through the current self-reporting measures. This calls into question the common practice of staffing-up during a facility’s survey window and tries to ensure that the staffing level is consistent throughout the year. The letter, published on Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s website, notes in part:
“Currently, nurse staffing data is self-reported, and the data are solely based on a two-week period prior to a nursing home’s annual survey (inspection). Data from such a limited time frame do not adequately reflect ongoing staffing levels, particularly since nursing facilities are known to “staff up” immediately prior to their annual inspection. In addition, the data are not audited, meaning that even the limited data currently available have questionable accuracy and reliability.”
The letter further notes that accurate staffing data is critical based on its direct correlation to the quality of care provided by a nursing facility, for reimbursement and also for nursing home residents and their families/legal representatives to use when making placement decisions.