Senate Chairs Ask CMS to Publish COVID-19 Vaccination Rates for Residents and Workers on User-Friendly Website
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Aging Committee Chair Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) today asked the Biden Administration to take additional steps to provide the public with more usable and accessible information on the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations among residents and workers in our Nation’s nursing homes.
“We believe more needs to be done to make these transparency measures useful to patients and their loved ones, particularly given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the United States, and the wide variation in vaccination rates among nursing home residents and workers throughout our Nation,” the Senators wrote. “We request that CMS continue building on its efforts to increase transparency regarding the rate of vaccinations among residents and workers at nursing homes. The agency should ensure that the average Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary, their families and employees are able to easily access facility-level data on Care Compare.”
Care Compare is one-stop shop for consumers seeking to find out more information about health care providers participating in the Medicare program, including but not limited to nursing homes, hospitals, hospice care and individual physicians. The Care Compare website is https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare.
The letter, sent to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, comes as the highly contagious delta variant surges throughout the United States. There were more than 25,000 COVID-19 cases among nursing home workers during the first four weeks of August, the highest levels since February 2021, according to data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Resident infections have similarly increased, with federally certified nursing homes having reported more than 16,000 infections through the first four weeks of August, the highest total since February 2021, although infection levels still remain a fraction of the more than 130,000 infections that were reported in December 2020.
The request to include vaccination data on Care Compare, a step CMS has indicated it is working towards, builds on previous work by the senators to increase transparency surrounding vaccination data and help protect nursing home residents, workers and their families. Earlier this year, the senators called on CMS to collect and release this data, however it currently resides on separate, difficult to navigate websites run by CMS and CDC. The senators first called for such data to be collected and published in December 2020, at the time vaccines first became available.
The full letter can be found here.