OIG focuses on nursing homes' quality of care in 'priorities' report

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To best protect federal health programs, more action should be taken to improve nursing home quality, a new government report asserts.

The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General released its “Compendium of Priority Recommendations” report on Wednesday. It identifies the top 25 unimplemented recommendations that, if completed, would “best protect the integrity” of HHS programs. The report was completed to meet federal regulations, including a requirement in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014.

Nursing homes figured prominently in the recommendations grouped under “Medicare Quality of Care and Safety Issues.” Of the five recommendations in this section, three involved nursing homes: improve care and discharge planning; address harm to patients, questionable hospitalization of residents, and inappropriate drug use; and improve emergency preparedness and response.

All the recommendations were drawn from previously released OIG reports. The prominence of nursing homes in this section marks a change from the previous compendium, dated Dec. 2012, in which none of the quality and safety recommendations targeted nursing facilities.

Improving controls over improper Medicare billings from skilled nursing facilities was a recommendation in the “Medicare Policies and Payments” section of the report. Broader recommendations included among the 25, such as to reduce improper payments and fraud, also would affect long-term care providers.

Click here to access the complete report.

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