Guest Post by UMBC’s Kavan Peterson:
Almost immediately after posting the below story I came across this update from the Des Moines Register:
Names of worst care centers witheld from public, but given to lobbyists
The federal agency that refuses to publicly identify three of the worst-performing nursing homes in Iowa has shared that same information with lobbyists for the nursing home industry.
“This is absolutely outrageous,” said John Tapscott, a former member of the Iowa Legislature and an advocate for nursing home reform.
“I don’t know when I’ve been so livid in all my life,” he added. “This just speaks to a larger problem, which is that the lobbyists are now running the government.”
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has compiled a list of 128 “special-focus facilities” that are among the worst-performing nursing homes in each state. Those care centers are alleged to have consistently provided poor quality care while repeatedly falling in and out of compliance with government health and safety regulations.
But the federal agency has publicly identified only 54 of those 128 nursing homes. Among the 54 is Blair House, a care center in Burlington.
Shame on me for giving CMS the benefit of the doubt below. Des Moines Register reporter Clark Kauffman sums up my amazement at this egregious action:
It’s unusual for a government agency charged with protecting the public to give information to an industry it regulates while withholding that same information from the public.
I’ll also give Hillary Clinton credit for being the first presidential candidate in Iowa to lash out at CMS over this.