Nursing home enforcement actions decreased more than 33 percent nationwide in the past year, from 3,094 in 2012 to 1,909 in 2013, according to a review by the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC). The advocacy group includes consumers, civic and professional organizations and individuals in New York state.
“It is difficult to understand why, in the face of persistent nursing home abuse and neglect, our survey system increasingly shuns enforcement in favor of collaboration with this industry,” says Richard Mollot, LTCCC’s executive director.
The move by many states to mandate managed care for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries also is affecting quality, the LTCCC says. The group’s recent report, “Mandatory Managed Care in NY State Nursing Homes,” found that managed care plans are contracting with nursing homes “with little or no discrimination as to whether a facility is providing good care or even meeting basic safety standards.”
A recent Office of Inspector General report—which found that 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who stayed in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for post-acute care experienced adverse events during the period studied, and an additional 11 percent were temporarily harmed during their SNFs stays—is further evidence that “lax enforcement of the minimum safety standards is taking a toll on our most vulnerable citizens, with tragic results,” Mollot says. “This report should serve as a wake-up call to state legislators and Congress: something has gone terribly wrong with our oversight system when nursing home citations are dropping across the United States while horrible problems continue on such a significant and widespread scale. What is the purpose of having standards if they are not enforced?”