Federal officials have started affixing a bright red “stop” hand icon next to facilities that have received recent abuse citations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
CMS unveiled the labeling plans as part of an unfolding five-pillar plan that includes improving transparency for consumers. Starting Oct. 23, the “Do not proceed” symbol will be placed next to facilities that have been cited for abuse, neglect or exploitation. Authorities call the open-palm display in a red circle “a consumer alert icon.”
It will appear next to facilities that have been given a citation for abuse that led to the harm of a resident within the past year or cited for abuse that could have potentially led to resident harm in each of the previous two years.
The icon will be updated on a monthly basis at the same time as inspection results. CMS said the monthly updating will come quicker than current quarterly updates and ensures that nursing facilities “will not be flagged for longer than necessary if their most recent inspections indicate they have remedied the issues that caused the citations for abuse or potential for abuse and no longer meet the criteria for the icon.”
“Through the ‘transparency’ pillar of our five-part strategy to ensure safety and quality in nursing homes, we are giving residents and families the ability to make informed choices,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.
While consumers can already learn about nursing home violations through health inspection reports available through the website, the CMS said they’re too difficult to access now and that the new icon will make it easier for consumers to find out about abuse citations.
She said the added information is meant for “incentivizing nursing homes to compete on cost and quality.