HHS: Death rate for Medicare patients in nursing homes was up 32% in 2020
The death rate among Medicare patients in nursing homes surged by 32% last year, a government watchdog report out Tuesday found, per AP.
The big picture: The report from the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General is the most comprehensive look yet at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on one of its most vulnerable populations, AP writes.
By the numbers: Overall deaths jumped by 168,291 from the year before, while 4 in 10 Medicare patients likely had COVID-19 in 2020, according to the report.
- Death rates in 2020 were higher every month when compared to 2019. In April of 2020, 81,484 Medicare patients in nursing homes died.
- Asian American patients saw the highest increase in death rates, with 27% dying in 2020, compared with a 17% death rate the previous year.
- Low-income nursing home patients covered by Medicare were more likely to have gotten COVID-19, with an infection rate that reached 56% and a death rate of 26%.
What they're saying: "We knew this was going to be bad, but I don’t think even those of us who work in this area thought it was going to be this bad," David Grabowski, an expert on long-term care, told AP.
- “This was not individuals who were going to die anyway,” he added. “We are talking about a really big number of excess deaths.”