AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas has retained its lead among all states for having the most nursing homes, 76 total, that have failed to submit COVID-19 data in the most recent reporting period to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to CMS records released Thursday.
That latest data shows 76 of Texas’ 1,218 nursing homes did not submit data, which is down from 97 the week prior. Nationally, the number of nursing homes that did not provide records dipped slightly to 818 from 826 the week before. The newest July 9 dataset reflects numbers submitted to CMS by June 28.
CMS has collected and posted COVID-19 information from nursing homes since early June. So far, there have been six batches of weekly data, and the number of nursing homes failing to submit information has steadily decreased nationwide, and in Texas. That is, until last week. Both in Texas and nationally, the number of nursing homes missing data reversed course and reflected an increase on June 21 for the first time since CMS began publishing the records.
The CMS data provides a snapshot for each nursing home. It shows the number of COVID-19 cases among staff and residents at each location, as well as data on stocks of protective equipment and hand sanitizer. The information has been updated weekly, but each week hundreds of facilities nationwide have not submitted information. The data that is submitted can also be retroactively corrected, and nursing homes were not required to provide prior to May 24.
That incomplete data has drawn concern from some experts and lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, an Austin Democrat.
“We don’t have the information we need to make good policy or to protect families,” Doggett said at a June 25 meeting of the U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee.
Nursing homes in Texas have reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths among residents and more than 7,000 cases at 62% of facilities in the state, according to Health and Human Services Commission from July 8.
Improving Texas trends
The federal data also shows some improving trends. The number of facilities reporting staff and equipment shortages has improved in recent weeks.
Shortages of nursing staff, aides, clinical staff and other staff appear to be ticking downward, after peaking in recent reporting periods.
The number of Texas facilities reporting a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer has also dropped nearly each week. However, in the latest reporting period almost every PPE category showed a slight increase in the number of facilities reporting shortages, according to CMS.