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Watchdog sees nursing home hospitalization variations

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should create a standard measure for nursing home resident hospitalization rates, and state agencies should consider that measure when gauging nursing home quality.

Jeremy Moore and other staffers at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) have included those recommendations in a report on how often nursing homes send residents to the hospital.

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The inspectors found that average statewide annual resident hospitalization rates ranged from less than about 23 percent for homes in states like Alaska, Arizona and Maine to about 40 percent for homes in Louisiana.

Other annual hospitalization rate findings:

  • The average resident hospitalization rate is about 26 percent at homes that get an inspection rating of three or fewer stars on a five-star scale, and about 23 percent at homes that get an inspection rating of four or five stars.
  • The average is about 23 percent at homes with fewer than 80 beds and about 27 percent at homes with more than 120 beds.
  • The average is 26 percent at for-profit homes, 23 percent at government-owned homes and 21 percent at nonprofit homes.

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