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Posted: October 14, 2008

Nearly All US Nursing Homes Cited for Standards Violations: Feds

 More than 90% of all US nursing homes were cited for violating federal safety and service quality standards in each of the past three years, according to a federal government report.

For-profit nursing homes had a higher percentage of violations than other nursing facilities, such as not-for-profit and government homes, the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department said in the report.

``In 2007, 94% of for-profit nursing homes surveyed were cited for deficiencies, compared to 88% of not-for-profit and 91% of government nursing homes,' said Daniel Levinson, the inspector general.

The most common violations, which accounted for 28% to 36% of nursing homes citations, involved improper storage and distribution of food, accident hazards and a lack of services necessary for residents' mental and physical well-being, the report said.

The report comes in the wake of recent announced efforts by Medicare officials to increase quality of nursing home care for its beneficiaries, in part by posting on the Internet the names of facilities that show poorly in state inspections.

About 1.5 million people live in 16,000 nursing facilities in the United States. To be reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, the homes must meet certain certification standards.

David Certner, legislative policy director for the senior advocacy organization AARP, said in a statement that the HHS report shows that policymakers must ensure that nursing home residents aren't at risk. ``We hope this report will spur Congress to act quickly,' Certner said.

The rate of violations differed by state, with every nursing facility surveyed in Alaska, the District of Columbia, Wyoming and Idaho reporting citations compared with a low of 76% in Rhode Island. Click here for the complete report, including a state-by-state ranking on violations.

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