When you hear about Medicare, you probably think of the federal program that helps pay for older adults’ health care. What you may not realize is that another of Medicare’s major responsibilities is to inspect health care facilities to make sure that patients receive safe and high-quality care.
Among those facilities are the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes.
Nursing facilities wanting to get reimbursed for treating Medicare patients must be certified as meeting certain health and safety requirements. The federal agency that oversees Medicare – the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – works closely with the states to accomplish that.
Trained health professionals make unannounced visits to nursing homes to check whether the health and safety standards are being met and, if not met, to ensure the problems are addressed. An inspection is often the result of a complaint lodged by a patient or family member.
By Bob Moos • Southwest regional public affairs officer for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services