Residents refused meds, tried to flee secure unit since talking to surveyor, nursing home charges

Skilled nursing providers have received far fewer citations for antipsychotic misuse under the Trump administration, according to authors of a report released Monday by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Citations for antipsychotic misuse in SNFs fell 22% between 2017 and 2018 — after increasing by 200% between 2015 and 2017 — according to the report. Additionally, 10% of citations associated with Actual Harm or Immediate Jeopardy concerns, between 2017 and 2018, resulted in no provider fine. 

The analysis, which used data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Kaiser Family Foundation, aimed to provide an overview of antipsychotic citation trends in SNFs from 2015 to 2018.

The findings also revealed that about 20% of all SNF residents in the United States received some form of antipsychotic medication in the fourth quarter of 2019. Just 2% of residents had qualifying conditions for the drugs, according to the report.

The report called for lawmakers and SNFs to take “meaningful steps” to reduce the overuse of antipsychotics and ensure the needs of seniors are being adequately addressed. 

“The high rate of antipsychotics use across our nation’s nursing homes shows that many facilities continue to resort to the use of these potentially dangerous drugs as a chemical restraint — in lieu of proper staffing — which has the potential to harm hundreds of thousands of patients,” report authors wrote. 

Reducing the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes has been a heavy focus of skilled nursing providers and federal officials in the United States for a handful of years.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has targeted facilities that have lagged in reducing residents’ antipsychotic use.