OIG: Feds need to strengthen standards for nursing home emergency plans

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Nursing home emergency plans proved to be inadequate during last year's hurricane season, even though most met federal requirements, a new report finds.

Twenty chosen Gulf State nursing homes had problems evacuating residents or sheltering them in place, according to the Office of Inspector General, which is part of the Department of Health & Human Services. The ones that evacuated experienced transportation contracts that were not honored, long travel times and host facilities that were unprepared. Also, nursing home staff and administrators failed to follow their own emergency plans.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services needs to strengthen federal certification standards for nursing home emergency plans, the report said. Also, CMS needs to encourage communication between state and local emergency entities and nursing homes. Surprisingly, most Gulf State nursing homes (94%) met federal standards for planning last year.

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