OIG Report: Mortality Rates in Nursing Homes Increased by 32% During 2020
The Office of Inspector General released a report about the impact COVID-19 had on Medicare beneficiaries. Last year, 3.1 million beneficiaries were living in nursing homes and SNFs. Of this amount, 1.3 million had or likely had COVID-19 in 2020. It is reported that 2 in 5 beneficiaries had or likely had COVID. The reports of daily cases continued to increase throughout the first half of the year and went up dramatically by the end of the year. During December, there were well over 6,600 beneficiary cases reported each day.
There was a 32% increase in the mortality rate in nursing homes during 2020. The mortality rate for each month in 2020 was higher than its corresponding month in 2019. Infection rates in each age group were similar, but mortality rates increased in the older age groups. Dually eligible beneficiaries, primarily consisting of people who are older and/or have serious health issues, were more likely to contract and succumb to COVID than a Medicare-only beneficiary. The OIG recognizes the impact that this pandemic had on nursing homes and is working towards preventing future tragedies of this extent from happening again.