98°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada officials: Federal data on virus nursing home deaths is wrong

Updated June 9, 2020 - 1:21 pm

Federal officials erroneously inflated COVID-19 deaths among Nevada nursing home residents, state health officials are contending.

Last week, a federal report showed almost one-third of Nevada nursing home residents who died after contracting COVID-19 had not been publicly reported by state officials. The number of deaths was 126, according to the reports, dozens more than had been reported by the state.

Now, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is contending the federal number was artificially high because some nursing homes have been reporting their cumulative number of cases each day to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, instead of reporting only new cases.

As a result, federal officials were counting some nursing home deaths more than once, state DHHS spokeswoman Shannon Litz wrote in an email. As of Tuesday morning, state officials had reported only 92 deaths among nursing home residents.

“For many facilities this level of required reporting to the federal agency is a new process,” Litz wrote. “The Department will continue to look into this and work with the facilities to help them report in an accurate and timely manner.”

In one example, Litz said federal data showed 54 residents of Premier Health and Rehabilitation Center of Las Vegas had died as of May 17, when only three residents actually had. Officials with the nursing home did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees Nevada’s nursing homes and published the federal data, did not directly address questions about the state’s assertion.

Instead, CMS pointed to newer data it published Thursday, which showed only 30 deaths among Nevada nursing home residents as of May 31, dramatically less than the state’s numbers.

“As with any new reporting program, there can be data submission errors in the beginning,” a CMS official wrote in an email. “As CMS continues to analyze the data going forward we expect fewer errors as nursing home staff get used to these requirements and CMS has more time to quality check the data.”

Inaccurate death tolls would not be the only problem with the newly released federal numbers. Multiple Nevada nursing homes told the Review-Journal last week that CMS had inaccurately flagged them for not submitting data to federal officials.

Last month CMS began requiring the facilities to submit COVID-19 data on a weekly basis to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network.

The new initiative is being used to identify problem areas and help CMS better plan infection control actions.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Davidson is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Trump Pushing for Reopening Schools and In-Person Learning - Video
Donald Trump launched an effort on Wednesday to reopen schools across the United States with in-person learning.
Special session to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lawmakers to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Democratic leaders resign
Several key Clark County Democratic Party leaders have resigned as progressive leadership has swelled in recent months.
Dream Big Nevada celebrates DACA ruling - VIDEO
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections under DACA for 650,000 young immigrants. Astrid Silva, founder of Dream Big Nevada, discusses the temporary victory and the next step for Dreamers.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of city council meeting - Video
Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of a City Council meeting during public comments.
Mitt Romney marches in Washington, D.C., protest - Video
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah joined a group of protesters marching through Washington, D.C. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak says businesses will begin reopening under phase 1 - VIDEO
The first phase of reopening Nevada’s businesses will begin Saturday, May 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation - VIDEO
The former senate aide claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator. Biden first denied the accusations via a public post on Medium. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RJ interview with Sisolak on the reopening plan for Nevada - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Review-Journal interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on the plan for reopening Nevada during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak reacts to Goodman CNN interview- VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman repeated her call to immediately reopen businesses during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, leading to a reaction from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak praises Nevadans for staying at home, saving lives - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday it’s still too early to know when the state’s COVID-19 shutdown orders could be lifted or when businesses could start to reopen their doors. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump gives governors 3-phase approach to open US - VIDEO
President Donald Trump declared victory in America’s war against the “invisible enemy” as the president’s Coronavirus Task Force released “Opening up America Again” guidelines. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump names Jacky Rosen to task force on reopening economy - VIDEO
President Donald Trump named Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to be a member of his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group Thursday to advise him on coronavirus policy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president - VIDEO
On April 13, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST