GAO: CMS Needs to Address Gaps in Federal Oversight of Nursing Home Abuse Investigations That Persisted in Oregon for at Least 15 Years

“Why GAO Did This Study

GAO was asked to review CMS’s oversight of abuse in nursing homes and in the course of that work became aware that one of the selected state survey agencies in the national review—Oregon—was not following federal law for nursing home oversight, prompting further review…”

“What GAO Found

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is responsible for ensuring that the approximately 1.4 million residents in 15,600 nursing homes nationwide receive quality care and are free from abuse. To monitor compliance with nursing home quality standards, CMS enters into agreements with agencies in each state government—known as state survey agencies—and oversees the work of the survey agencies. These survey agencies investigate complaints from the public and facility-reported incidents regarding resident care or safety, such as abuse. The survey agencies, which are often housed in the health or human services departments of state governments, report the results of these investigations to CMS; CMS can then take action, such as applying appropriate federal penalties…”

“What GAO Recommends

GAO is making three recommendations, including that CMS should: ensure all state survey agencies are meeting federal requirements that state survey agencies are responsible for investigating complaints and facility-reported incidents alleging abuse in nursing homes; identify options for incorporating information on Oregon’s investigations of abuse into oversight of Oregon nursing homes; and clearly communicate to consumers the lack of data on abuse in Oregon nursing homes. HHS concurred with the recommendations.”

Read the full 18-page report here.

Source: CMS Needs to Address Gaps in Federal Oversight of Nursing Home Abuse Investigations That Persisted in Oregon for at Least 15 Years – April 15, 2019. GAO.

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