Getting Into the Gory Details: Detailed COVID-19 Information About Nursing Homes Publicly Available on CMS.gov

On September 21, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new feature on Medicare.gov to make it easier for people to check for COVID-19 vaccination rates among nursing home staff and residents. This tool is a result of combining weekly nursing home reporting to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (see, e.g., NHSN Weekly Report), in addition to the substantial amount COVID-19 related information about nursing homes already available on CMS’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website. This Client Advisory will discuss the information about Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes that is now available to the public on the CMS website.

On May 11, 2021, CMS published an interim final rule which, among other things, requires Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for residents and staff, as well as side effects from the vaccines and therapeutics given to residence to treat COVID-10. CMS then posted this, and additional, data on the CMS COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website. A chart on this website lists each certified nursing home and a significant amount of self-reported information about each facility, including

  • Facility name, federal provide number, address, phone number
  • Weekly and total resident cases of COVID-19
  • Weekly and total staff cases of COVID-19
  • Total resident deaths from COVID-19
  • Total staff deaths from COVID-19
  • If the facility has a week’s supply of N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns, gloves, eye protection, and respirators
  • Information about COVID-19 testing in the facility and the labs the facility uses to run the tests
  • If there are undefined staff shortages at the facility.

See the list of over 200 data fields here.

There is also information about rates of COVID-19 vaccination in each facility. This information breaks down the rates of vaccination in various ways. There is information about what percentage of staff has which vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson). Percentages of vaccinated staff are also broken down by job type: the percentage of physicians, percentage of therapist, percentage of aides, and percentage of other health care staff that have vaccinated. It is further broken down by the percentages of staff that is vaccinated that worked at least 1 day in the facility for the week. In addition, there is information about number of staff that have medical conditions that prevent them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

CMS has added a tool on Care Compare that enables users to see the vaccinate rates for residents and staff at any Medicare or Medicaid-certified skilled nursing facility in a more user-friendly way. On Care Compare, once a user finds a nursing home, there are fields showing the facilities’ vaccination rates. It shows the percentage of staff that is vaccinated and the percentage of residents who are vaccinated, updated about every two weeks. It also lists the national and state averages for nursing home staff and residences who are vaccinated. From there, users can find link to the COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website, where users can view all the additional COVID-19 information for each facility (where available).

The NHSN and Care Compare data provide a picture of what is available on each nursing facility. Such information may help prospective residents and their families choose a nursing facility. It may also cue surveyors and auditors (and attentive nursing facility staff) to specific care issues. The data now available tell a story about each facility, and each nursing facility should carefully enter and monitor these details going forward.

Should you or your facility have any questions about any of the information listed on CMS’s website, please contact Peter Mellette, Harrison Gibbs, or Elizabeth Dahl Coleman at Mellette PC. Our thanks to Aliyah Price, William and Mary Law ‘2022, for her assistance in preparing this advisory.

This client advisory is for general educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal advice specific to any situation you may have. Individuals desiring legal advice should consult legal counsel for up-to-date and fact-specific advice.

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