Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) urged the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday to divulge information on nursing home abuse, following a scathing federal report that found more than a quarter of potential abuse incidents go unreported.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D., Hatch said the Office of Inspector General’s recent “early alert” on potential abuse or neglect in nursing homes “troubled” him and highlighted the need for “a solution to protect seniors.”

Hatch posed multiple questions in his letter, including whether HHS or any other agencies plan to reevaluate their procedures regarding nursing home abuse following the early alert, or take any actions against the facilities in the alert where incidents went unreported.

He also asked why there’s been a lag in enforcement actions under a federal rule that long-term care employees report “any reasonable suspicion of a crime” to law enforcement.

Hatch closes the letter asking Price what efforts he would recommend Congress consider to help HHS and law enforcement authorities prevent incidents of abuse in long-term care facilities. He requested an answer from Price by Oct. 6.

“As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I have the responsibility to oversee the Medicaid and Medicare programs,” Hatch wrote. “As such, I hope that we can work together towards a solution to protect seniors and prevent future occurrences of abuse or neglect.”