GAO: CMS Should Make (Nursing Home) Ownership Information More Transparent for Consumers

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

The GAO publicly released this 39-page report on February 2, 2023. The accessible version (44 pages) is found here.

“CMS provides oversight of the nation’s over 15,000 nursing homes that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This includes ensuring that homes have met certain quality standards. Several studies have shown that the quality of care provided at a nursing home can be related to its ownership. In addition, GAO and others have identified limitations in the transparency and accuracy of information on nursing home ownership.

GAO was asked to report on CMS’s use of nursing home ownership information. In this study, GAO examined, among other objectives, the transparency of nursing home ownership information for consumers on Care Compare. To do so, GAO reviewed CMS documentation and interviewed CMS officials, consumer groups, and researchers. GAO also assessed whether the nursing home information on Care Compare aligned with the characteristics of effective transparency tools identified in prior GAO work.

GAO is recommending that CMS fully align nursing home ownership information on Care Compare with relevant characteristics of effective transparency tools. This should include organizing ownership information to allow consumers to identify and examine quality ratings for nursing homes under common ownership, and using plain language to define key terms. The Department of Health and Human Services concurred with this recommendation.”