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 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, told me he supports the request.
“I think Hatch really gets to the point here that there is a responsibility when a nursing home takes in a vulnerable patient,” he said. “Looking at this early alert, this highlights there are some significant problems and they’re not little problems.”
Hatch asked for the HHS’s responses by Oct. 6.
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