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CEO DATELINE – Nursing home association urges feds to rethink ‘alert’ icon

Oct. 15, 2019
By Walt Williams

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The American Health Care Association is objecting to a new icon recently rolled out by the Trump administration that alerts consumers about nursing homes that have been cited for abuse or neglect.

The icon unveiled Oct. 7 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services features a hand making a stop gesture within a red circle. According to a press release, it will be featured on the agency’s Nursing Home Compare website alongside nursing homes that have been cited for past incidents of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

“With today’s action, the Trump Administration is putting critical information at consumers’ fingertips, empowering them and incentivizing nursing homes to compete on cost and quality,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

However, in a letter to the agency, AHCA CEO Mark Parkinson said the icon is sending the wrong message by suggesting to consumers they should “stop and avoid” a nursing home rather helping them make an informed decision about a facility.

“If a facility has corrected the deficiencies that led to the citation and is back in substantial compliance with CMS regulations, the icon should be removed as it suggests an ongoing problem,” Parkinson said. “If a facility has corrected the issue, keeping the icon on NHC seems confusing and inconsistent with transparency efforts.”

AHCA is recommending the symbol be changed to suggest “caution” or needs further investigation, “as you might see on the roadway … (i.e., a yellow triangle with an exclamation point) would be more appropriate.”