The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a special “Eye on Oversight” webinar series, which features top areas of interest for the OIG. Recently, the series presented by Regional Inspector General, General Brian Whitley, focused on nursing home abuse. The OIG reported that in 2016, there were more than 1,000 open nursing home abuse cases and that 85% of nursing homes reported at least one instance of abuse or neglect in 2016 alone. The OIG utilizes various tools to combat abuse and neglect in nursing homes including:
1. Conducting Investigations;
3. Corporate Integrity Agreements; and
4. Recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding nursing home abuse and neglect.
In past years, the OIG has made recommendations to CMS regarding the reduction of antipsychotics, which have been implemented through various education, guidance, and regulation revisions. The OIG reports a 30% reduction in abuse and neglect related to antipsychotics due to the recommendations made by the OIG.
Throughout the OIG's recent audits and reports including information gathered through partnerships with state Medicaid enforcement partners, the OIG found three common factors that contributed to the incidences of abuse in nursing homes:
1. Lack of staffing including adequate and trained staff as well as sufficient supplies;
2. Over medication of residents leading to negative quality of care outcomes including falls; and
3. Individual bad actors, such as nursing assistants, who had previous criminal histories.
The OIG maintains that focusing on these areas may help nursing homes reduce deficiencies related to nursing home abuse and neglect. The Regional Inspector General also stated that the OIG will continue its efforts to root out fraud, hold wrongdoers accountable, and recommend solutions to better protect nursing home residents.