Recently, the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services issued a release about how nursing homes report cases of serious abuse. In its statements, the Inspector General found that 25 percent of these incidents aren’t reported to the police. In spite of state and federal laws requiring homes to do so, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not been monitoring facilities to see if they take the proper action.
For years, patients neglected, injured or abused at a nursing home would attempt to pursue a legal claim against the facility, only to find that an arbitration agreement – signed during the intake process – prevented them from taking this direction. Rather, the home required the patient to dispute the issue in arbitration, a process often in the facility’s favor and one that prevents the incident from being recorded.
In April 2017, AARP highlighted the misuse of psychotropic drugs, including antipsychotics, in nursing homes. Their report revealed that these extremely strong drugs are still used as restraints, given without the patient’s or guardian’s consent, and have led to a high number of fatalities.
As many seniors are aware, the Better Care Reconciliation Act has been proposed by Senate Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is predicted to cut Medicaid spending by about $772 billion through 2026 – or about 25 percent over the next decade. Supporters, primarily targeting programs and care for pregnant women and children, claim that the changes won’t affect nursing home subsidies.
Certain health facilities, including nursing homes, are governed by state Certificate of Need (CON) laws. Although, these laws were formerly administered at the federal level, the government eventually dropped them. However, 36 states – including Connecticut – continue to use CON laws.