The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued an “early alert” titled “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Has Inadequate Procedures to Ensure That Incidents of Potential Abuse or Neglect at Skilled Nursing Facilities Are Identified and Reported in Accordance With Applicable Requirements.” This early alert preceeds the full report of the OIG’s study on abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
The audit is a part of the OIG’s ongoing effort of to combat and identify elder abuse. The review puts CMS on notice of the inadequacy of reporting of abuse and neglect, and contains suggestions for action that CMS can immediately implement in order to ensure better protection of Medicare beneficiaries who are vulnerable to elder abuse and neglect. The OIG indicated it was important to communicate preliminary results to let those charged with governance or management of these issues institute corrective follow-up action as soon as possible.
Inadequate Procedures to Identify & Report Elder Abuse
The OIG found in their investigation 134 Medicare beneficiaries whose injuries may have been the result of potential elder abuse or neglect occurring from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2016. A significant percentage of these incidents did not appear to have been reported to law enforcement. As a result, the OIG has determined that there are inadequate procedures to make sure that potential abuse or neglect of Medicare beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing facilities are identified and reported.
Ohio has regulations in place requiring nursing homes certified by Medicare and Medicaid to report suspected abuse and neglect to the Ohio Department of Health, which regulates the state’s nursing homes.
Related Posts by attorney Todd Bartimole appear below. Todd has been working as an advocate for the elderly and disabled since 1989 and specializes in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Disability and Special Needs Planning.