Nursing home standards low

To the editor:

While many of us are interested in who owns and operates our hospitals and medical/health systems, nursing homes seem to be held to a lower standard and thus may not feel pressured to be transparent with such information. I am a strong proponent of education and believe if information is not given freely it is my responsibility to educate myself. I believe you should educate yourself as well, particularly if you have a vested interest in nursing home control and ownership information.

We hear it all the time: “under new management,” “new ownership,” etc., but this information is rarely made clear to the public. Therefore I have felt, for both personal and professional reasons, it my responsibility to share with you how to ascertain this information. Medicare provides this information to any person with access to an internet browser quite easily. Simply search for “nursing home ownership” in most any search engine and your first result will likely read “Ownership | Data.Medicare.gov.” Click the link; atop the page there is a magnifying glass located in the upper left corner. Simply click on the magnifying glass and enter the name of a nursing facility, owner, parent company, or managing employee (CEO, CFO, administrator, etc.). You will then be provided with any available information regarding the facility’s ownership and management. The database is updated quarterly, but sometimes all information is not made readily available. Currently, the last update occurred on October 1st, 2019; the next update should occur January 1st, 2020.

If you are a nursing home resident, a family member, or employee with questions about ownership and control and decide to check the data.Medicare.gov site for information, keep in mind it does take time to update sometimes. For example, in my recent searches I found the information to be inaccurate; the administrator listed as managing one facility in particular does not in fact work there. Ask questions; stay informed. This is also my personal plea to owners, officers, and administrators to be as honest and transparent as possible with the public; it is in the best interest of all stakeholders.