Report: Nursing homes may not be adequately protecting health

Most nursing homes violated federal standards in 2007More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for at least one violation of federal standards last year, according to a Health and Human Services Department report.

And a typical facility received an average of seven citations for health and safety deficiencies in 2007, federal investigators said.

Quality of care was the subject of many of the problems, a category that includes issues such as treatment for common health conditions.

Problems with the storage and distribution of food were also commonly mentioned, as were maintenance problems such as accident hazards.

It is the third year in a row in which more than 90 percent of nursing homes were judged to have deficiencies.

"The addition of stronger inspections and enforcement of quality-of-care requirements means that more of the serious deficiencies are being identified, even though many nursing homes also made improvements in their care," Jeff Nelligan, spokesperson for the HHS, told Bloomberg.

There are approximately 18,000 nursing homes in the U.S., offering some 1.9 million beds, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.