Nursing Home Compare Website Adds Abuse Warning Icon, Upsetting Maryland Nursing Homes

More Maryland families are searching for nursing homes for their loved ones. Many utilize the Nursing Home Compare website run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which offers information on certified nursing homes across the country. The website allows families to compare how nursing homes rank for health inspections, staffing, resident care, and more. In October, CMS announced an addition to the website to better inform consumers about nursing home abuse:  adding a new abuse warning icon – a red circle with an open palm – next to the names of nursing homes with a history of abuse or neglect.

The plan sparked immediate backlash and controversy, with advocates from the long-term care industry speaking out against the new icon. According to a new article covering the controversy, leaders from AMDA (the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine) have called the new icon “misguided,” arguing that it will actually be counterproductive to patients and will negatively affect the motivation of staff members in nursing homes. A spokesperson from the American Health Association even called the red hand “dumb,” arguing that it is overly punitive and may improperly lead consumers away from quality nursing homes.

The government and supporters of the icon stand by their belief that the icon is beneficial to consumers. The CMS administrator wrote in October that the icon puts “critical information at consumers’ fingertips, empowering them and incentivizing nursing homes to compete on cost and quality.” Opponents, in response, argue that the icon could make consumers not even consider certain nursing homes, even if the abuse was long ago and resolved appropriately. Additionally, nursing homes without icons may be discouraged from reporting new incidents of abuse, out of fear of earning an icon on the website. Instead of an icon, opponents argue that the best way to end nursing home abuse is to encourage reporting of incidents.

Although the two sides disagree on the solution, all can agree on one thing:  abuse is a persistent and concerning problem in U.S. nursing homes. While advocates at CMS have attempted to warn consumers of potential issues during the initial nursing home search, instances of abuse may still occur at even the most reputable facilities. When they do, Maryland law fortunately allows the victims and their families to sue the nursing home for negligence to obtain damages for their injuries, which can help them recover in the aftermath of such a tragic incident.

Do You Need a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?

While Maryland families do everything that they can to make sure that a loved one is safe and properly treated in a nursing home, instances of neglect and abuse are all too common. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the psychological toll that these incidents can take on the victims and their families. Our Maryland nursing home abuse law firm wants to help balance the scales by working with you to recover damages from the facility that harmed your loved one. With dedicated and experienced attorneys who have recovered over $55 million for our clients, you can trust that your case is in good hands with us. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free consultation at 800-654-1949.

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