Federal data shows staffing at some nursing home facilities across the country is low and may have been overstated for years in Wisconsin and other states.
Nursing homes report staffing levels to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and now the federal agency is verifying the staffing through payroll records.
Barbara Bowers, associate dean for research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Nursing, supports the new method to assess the number of employees providing care because it's more accurate.
"Sometimes it’s deliberate but a lot of times they just don’t keep track of it," Bowers said of facilities self-reporting.
It’s also important, she said, to have the right mix of staffing including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants. Nursing homes must have a registered nurse for eight hours a day and a licensed nurse at all times.