Serious nursing home quality problems still exist

According to new Congressional testimony by officials from the HHS inspector general's office, care at many nursing homes is actually dangerous to patients, despite ongoing efforts by CMS to identify and expose such problems. Lewis Morris, chief counsel to HHS' inspector general, told the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee that at least one in five nursing homes delivers care that is directly harmful to patients.

At the same hearing, the Government Accountability Office released a report suggesting that state nursing home inspectors routinely miss life-threatening problems such as whether homes ensure proper nutrition and hydration.

Meanwhile, at the same hearing, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal described how difficult it was to force nursing home owners into compliance even when their quality problems were known. His particular battle with nursing home operator Haven Healthcare demonstrated to him that with the complex ownership structures employed by such homes' operating companies, it could be almost impossible to win this kind of battle, Blumenthal said.

Despite having failed to address nursing home issues for more than 20 years, Congress is expected to respond to these and other reports with new rules sometime this year.

To learn more about the nursing home investigation:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

Related Articles:
U.S. lawmakers want new nursing home regulations
Congress to investigate investor-owner nursing homes
Manor Care buyer puts staffing promises in writing
Trend: Nursing homes big users of antipsychotic meds

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.