Trends in Nursing Home Complaints (2016-2018)

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

The nursing home complaint process is a critical safeguard to protect vulnerable nursing home residents. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) relies upon each State’s survey agency to respond to health and safety concerns raised by residents, their families, and nursing home staff. State agencies must investigate the most serious complaints on-site within certain timeframes. However, a previous Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that a few States fell short in the timely investigation of the most serious nursing home complaints between 2011 and 2015. To complement this report, OIG published an interactive map that displays details on nursing home complaint trends between 2011 and 2015.

The new interactive map below updates this information for years 2016 through 2018. Specifically, it displays details on nursing home complaint trends between 2016 and 2018 for each State, including the number of complaints received and the number of the most serious complaints that a State investigated late. Click here for national trends.  Here’s what that graph looks like:


Here’s what the map of complaints by state per 1,000 nursing home residents looks like (2019):


OIG is continuing to analyze nursing home complaint and investigations data and trends. We will share the results of this work in a forthcoming report that examines whether States that fell short in timely investigation of the most serious nursing home complaints in 2015 have since improved and provides additional insights on States’ nursing home complaint and investigation trends between 2016 and 2018.

In addition, an ongoing OIG evaluation is examining CMS’s oversight of State survey agencies’ performance.

The text version of this data contains much more information – namely state-specific data showing trends in 2016, 2017 and 2018.  For example, here is what I see when I view my home state’s data:


I encourage you to check out the stats for your state.  You’ll also find the definitions for Immediate Jeopardy and High Priority Complaints.  It’s an interesting read, to be sure!

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