Only about half of nursing facilities correctly reported abuse or neglect allegations in 2012, indicating that the government needs to provide more guidance and oversight, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.
Federal law requires that Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing facilities report abuse and neglect allegations and subsequent investigation findings to designated authorities within given timeframes. In 2012, 53% of allegations and investigation results were correctly reported, the OIG determined. More than two-thirds of facilities had policies around federal reporting requirements.
Nursing facilities must annually notify covered individuals, such as employees and contractors, of their obligation to report suspected abuse or neglect of residents. Facilities must also post notices of employees’ rights to file a complaint. The OIG found that 61% of facilities had documentation showing they were in compliance with these federal regulations.
In total, 85% of nursing facilities reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect to the OIG in 2012, according to the report. Abuse was the most common allegation, followed by “injuries of unknown source” and “misappropriations of resident property.” Employee-to-resident allegations were most frequent, followed by “perpetrator unknown” and resident-to-resident claims. The OIG did not determine how many of these allegations ultimately were substantiated.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should take a number of steps to increase compliance, including updating guidance and developing customizable reporting templates, the report recommended. CMS agreed with all the recommendations. The OIG will provide CMS with a list of all the facilities that it found to be noncompliant, the report notes.
The OIG investigators reviewed policies and procedures and interviewed administrators of a sample of nursing facilities to reach its conclusions. They also analyzed a sample of abuse and neglect allegations and investigation records.
Click here to access the complete document, released Monday.