CMS Makes Medicare Nursing Home Ownership Data Publicly Available
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
On September 26, in another effort to improve nursing home transparency, safety and quality, and accountability, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that they would be making publicly available data that provides more information about the ownership of all Medicare-certified nursing homes.
This data will, for the first time, give state licensing officials, state and federal law enforcement, researchers, and the public an enhanced ability to identify common owners of nursing homes across nursing home locations. This information can be linked to other data sources to identify the performance of facilities under common ownership, such as owners affiliated with multiple nursing homes with a record of poor performance.
Government officials say that access to this data will help improve the quality of care in our nation’s nursing homes. But will it? We posed this question to Pati Bedwell, one of the Elder Care Coordinators at Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law. “Any spotlight on improving care in nursing homes is appreciated, although it’s like throwing a glass of water on a bonfire,” Pati said. “Tying staffing to star ratings will be a good thing and putting more emphasis on staffing requirements is good, but it’s a little scary, too.”
Pati believes that there’s a deeper issue, one that will undermine the administration’s efforts if it’s not addressed. “Unless wages, benefits, and working conditions are improved, there’s not a lot of incentive for people to choose to work in nursing homes, especially Certified Nursing Assistants,” she said. “Implementing a staffing requirement sounds good, but what if a facility can’t get enough staff to meet the requirements? Anyone who’s worked in or around a facility knows the toughest job is staffing coordinator. They are constantly battling short staffing and call-ins.”
Today’s announcement builds on the historic release of nursing homes and hospitals data by CMS earlier this year following President Biden’s State of the Union call to action. In April, CMS released data publicly – for the first time ever – on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes of ownership from 2016-2022 for hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare.
The information now available includes detailed information on the ownership of approximately 15,000 nursing homes certified as a Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) – regardless of any change in ownership, including providing more information about organizational owners of nursing homes. For example, the expanded data elements include information about each organizational owner, such as whether it’s a holding company or a consulting firm. CMS has also provided key identifiers that reflect groups of nursing homes with common ownership or managerial control.
The data file on nursing home ownership has been posted to data.cms.gov and is updated monthly to help researchers, states, regulators and others analyze how ownership of particular nursing homes or groups of nursing homes impacts the quality of care nursing home residents receive.
The new nursing home ownership data is accessible to consumers through a link in the ownership section of Care Compare on the Medicare.gov website. “Transparency in ownership will be helpful for people like me,” Pati added, “but, the general public usually doesn’t know anything about any of the facilities. They just want to know their loved one will be okay.”
For more information on the HHS data release, including publicly available data files, please visit Skilled Nursing Facility and Ownership Data .