Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.
The Senate Finance Committee is requesting more information regarding elder abuse in nursing homes after a review by a government watchdog.
Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked for more details on whether the HHS plans to re-evaluate its procedures or if it plans to take enforcement actions. The request, which came in a Sept. 15 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, is in light of an “early alert” memorandum by the HHS’s Office of Inspector General. The review, published in August, found 134 Medicare patients may have been injured in nursing homes as a result of abuse or neglect.
The letter may signal legislative action regarding elder abuse. “As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I have the responsibility to oversee the Medicaid and Medicare programs and am troubled by these allegations,” Hatch said in the letter to Price. “I hope that we can work together towards a solution to protect seniors and prevent future occurrences of abuse or neglect.”
Richard J. Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, praised the letter.
“I absolutely support this request,” he told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 15. “We appreciate that Sen. Hatch covers essential questions that need to be answered.” The coalition is a nonprofit organization for improving quality of care for residents of nursing homes, assisted living, and other residential settings.
Hatch asked for the HHS’s responses by Oct. 6.
Hatch specifically asked the HHS whether the agency plans to re-evaluate its procedures to ensure that elder abuse or neglect is identified and reported, and to describe these plans if possible.
According to the OIG review, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hasn’t enforced a requirement that nursing homes annually notify covered individuals of their obligation to report any reasonable suspicions of a crime. Hatch asked when the HHS will delegate the proper authority to the CMS.
“I think Hatch really gets to the point here that there is a responsibility when a nursing home takes in a vulnerable patient,” Mollot said. “Looking at this early alert, this highlights there are some significant problems and they’re not little problems.”
Hatch also asked whether the HHS plans to take legal action regarding the OIG’s findings of possible abuse and neglect, and if the agency has any recommendations for Congress to assist in preventing future abuse and neglect.
Mark Parkinson, chief executive officer at the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, said it welcomes the opportunity to work with the federal government to ensure patient care and safety.
“It is despicable that anyone would prey on the elderly and most vulnerable in our country,” he told Bloomberg BNA in a Sept. 15 email. “Our association advises members on best practices and model policies for preventing abuse and neglect and also reporting requirements when abuse is suspected. In response to allegations of abuse, our members know that facilities must report it immediately.”
Mollot said there needs to be accountability when patients are abused. “Congress needs to ensure that the CMS is doing their job and protecting patients,” he said. “The buck stops at the CMS in making sure facilities are protecting patients.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Stankiewicz in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brian Broderick at email@example.com
The letter is at http://src.bna.com/sAD.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)