OIG calls its healthcare suggestions 'priority recommendations'

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The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services has released a report highlighting recommendations, including some that could affect nursing homes.

The 194-page report, “The Compendium of Unimplemented Office of Inspector General Recommendations,” gives a background and updated status for OIG recommendations on subjects ranging from rural health clinics to billing for ultrasounds. The compendium includes information about selected recommendations that had not been fully implemented as of September 30, 2009.

OIG recommendations that could affect nursing homes include: ensuring that states properly maintain nurse aide registries, updating nurse aide training curriculum, making certain that Part B payments are appropriate for beneficiaries' medical equipment during non-Part A nursing facility stays, and guaranteeing that Medicare Part D excludes payments for drugs for beneficiaries in Part A skilled nursing facility stays.

The report singles out as a priority two other recommendations that could affect nursing homes. Those recommendations would ensure the appropriate processing of denial of Medicare payment remedies for noncompliant nursing homes, and ensure that hospice claims for beneficiaries in nursing facilities comply with Medicare coverage requirements. Some of the recommendations would require a legislative act to implement, making them unlikely to be adopted, according to a report from HealthLeaders Media. Still, the compendium could serve as a guide for providers.