OIG lists nursing-home improvements among priorities for 2005

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The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services put long-term care as a main priority on its 2005 Work Plan.

Among the issues the OIG will examine are nurse-aide registry requirements, deficiency trends, additional fund usage, and imaging and laboratory services in nursing homes.

The OIG will use audits of previous actions in facilities to determine its further activities in nursing homes. One important issue the OIG plans to address is the use of additional Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and whether the SNFs have used the funds for patient care improvement.

In addition, officials will conduct a study analyzing how well states have kept current required nurse-aide registries and how well they have verified nurse aide qualifications before hiring, according to Work Plan details.

The OIG also will examine deficiency trends in nursing homes to determine if they have continued to rise since the last report in 2002. Unnecessary medical usage or billing for excessive imaging and laboratory services for patients also will be examined.

To view the complete OIG report, visit http://oig.hhs.gov/oas/reports/region1/10400517.htm.