Report Cards on 17,000 Nursing Homes Released

The federal government has released data on the quality of care delivered at the 17,000 nursing homes around the nation that care for Medicare or Medicaid patients, according to an article in the New York Times. But a government report terms the data "inaccurate" and calls its release "premature."

The data, some of which is being published in 71 newspapers this week and which is available on the Web at, presents the results of up to 10 measures of quality or performance for each nursing home. The measures include the percentage of residents who are in physical restraints or who have infection, bedsores or pain. Although results from such measures could simply reflect the type of population a facility treats, officials say many of the numbers were adjusted to account for the severity of a patient''s illness.

But one day after CMS launched the guide, the General Accounting Office {GAO) released a report labeling the guide "premature" and saying that its information might be "confusing and inaccurate." The report says the data does not give consumers "apples to apples" comparisons that can be easily understood and that some of the guide''s data may be "flawed." The GAO report calls for a delay to further refine the project.

The release of the data comes just six weeks after the federal government cut Medicare payments to nursing homes by 10 percent.

To read the New York Times article, click here. To download the GAO report, go to