New DOJ task forces targeting worst SNFs

The Attorney General’s Benjamin Mizer (center): The goal is to resolve problems with extremely troubled facilities in a “coordinated and timely manner.”
The Attorney General’s Benjamin Mizer (center): The goal is to resolve problems with extremely troubled facilities in a “coordinated and timely manner.”

The Department of Justice is forming 10 regional task forces to expose and improve nursing homes that are found to provide “grossly substandard” care.

Provider representatives, not surprisingly, criticized the move, calling it a reaction to “a flawed Medicare payment system.”

American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson also termed it “a smokescreen aimed at finding cost-cutting measures.”

Announced in late March, the task forces will “bring everyone to the table” to share information about fraudulent or extremely poor performing facilities, said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division.

He did not indicate how soon the units would be operational.

The groups will include officials from state Medicaid fraud control units, the Department of Health and Human Services, long-term care ombudsman programs, U.S. Attorney's offices, local and state prosecutors' offices.

The task forces are a plank of the DOJ's Elder Justice Initiative.