Tuesday, June 29, 2021
We all have heard the stories about the number of SNF residents dying during the pandemic. The Inspector General for HHS recently issued a report looking at the number of Medicare beneficiaries who died in SNFs during the pandemic, COVID-19 Had a Devastating Impact on Medicare Beneficiaries in Nursing Homes During 2020.
The executive summary explains:
Nursing home residents have been particularly affected by COVID-19, as they are predominately elderly, tend to have underlying conditions, and live in close quarters. However, data on the number of nursing home residents who were diagnosed with COVID-19 or likely COVID-19 have not been readily available, particularly for early in the pandemic. Nursing homes are not required to report cases and deaths that occurred before May 8, 2020.
This data snapshot provides objective, standardized data based on Medicare claims for all Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes throughout the country. This data snapshot is the first in a three-part series. Subsequent work will address the characteristics of the hardest hit nursing homes and strategies used by nursing homes to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT WE FOUND
- Two in five Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes were diagnosed with either COVID-19 or likely COVID-19 in 2020.
- Almost 1,000 more beneficiaries died per day in April 2020 than in April 2019.
- Overall mortality in nursing homes increased to 22 percent in 2020 from 17 percent in 2019.
- About half of Black, Hispanic, and Asian beneficiaries in nursing homes had or likely had COVID-19, and 41 percent of White beneficiaries did.
- Understanding the pandemic's effects on nursing home residents is necessary if tragedies like this are to be averted.
Note that this is the first of 3 reports on the topic. The full report is available here.