An Examination of New Jersey’s Lowest Rated Nursing Homes

On February 2, 2022, the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller issued a report examining the lowest rated nursing homes in the context of how the New Jersey Medicaid program continues to provide substantial funds to these nursing homes “despite their longstanding failure to improve the safety and quality of their care.” 

The Office of the State Comptroller is an independent agency responsible for monitoring and auditing government programs, as well as implementing the Medicaid Program Integrity and Protection Act.

According to news reports, based upon data from 2013 to 2021, patients have lived with and received health care from the lowest rated nursing homes that have been repeatedly cited by state inspectors for serious, widespread, and uncorrected deficiencies that placed patients at great risk of harm.  

The report recommends changes to require one-star nursing homes to improve their quality of care. 

Key Points:

  • New Jersey’s lowest rated nursing homes consistently have performed poorly for many years. Many of them have been providing low quality care for an extended period of time, in some cases dating back more than eight years. 
  • 14 of the 15 lowest rated nursing homes are for profit companies. 
  • Studies have also demonstrated that staffing levels at for-profit nursing homes are considerably lower than their government and non-profit counterparts. There is a strong correlation between overall staffing levels at and outcomes, with decreases in staffing leading to worse outcomes, including mortality. 
  • Longstanding low ratings exposes nursing home patients, to unnecessary risks and results in taxpayer funds being used for care that is substantially below average. 
  • One-star nursing homes are more than 400 times as likely to have an actual harm citation on their most recent survey than five-star nursing homes. 
  • 20% of one-star nursing homes received an immediate jeopardy citation, a serious deficiency, on survey. According to the Department of Health, immediate jeopardy describes “a situation in which immediate corrective action is necessary because the facility’s noncompliance with one or more requirements of participation has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident receiving care in a facility.”