In a letter dated August 21, six Democratic members of the Congressional Seniors Task Force urge Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to end the reliance on annual self-reported staffing data from nursing home. They say that instead, CMS should implement a program to obtain nursing home staffing information using payroll data. The lawmakers cite sections 6103 and 6106 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires that nursing home staffing information be obtained through a payroll data collection system. This provision is already effective, and should have been implemented in March 2012, according to the letter. The lawmakers write, “Failure to implement a payroll-based data collection system for nursing homes would be a waste of already expended public resources, a violation of the law, and a deprivation of the public's right to accurate information.”
The letter notes that mandating the use of payroll data was included in the ACA because the self-reporting system is inherently flawed, as acknowledged by a 2001 report by CMS. “Our seniors and their loved ones deserve access to reliable and accurate information when making choices about nursing home placement,” said task force co-chair Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA). “Research has shown that nursing home staffing levels is related to quality of care, and can be an important factor in these decisions. CMS should expeditiously implement the provision of the Affordable Care Act that would allow seniors access to this information.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Matsui, Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Charles Rangel (D-NY).
Source: Inside Health Policy