Abuse in nursing homes remains under-reported in the United States, according to reports released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General.
One report estimated that 1 in 5 ER visits from a nursing home is the result of abuse. It analyzed 37,607 “high-risk hospital ER claims” made to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, by nursing home residents in 2016.
The report also found that nursing homes frequently failed to report incidents of abuse to either CMS or local law enforcement, as required by federal regulators. In addition, the report said that CMS regulations needed to be bolstered to “track all incidents of potential abuse or neglect.”
In a statement to CNN, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services said: “Patient safety and quality of care are top priorities for OIG. During our audits, we found numerous cases in which mandatory reporters failed to comply with laws designed to protect beneficiaries. We recommend that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services use available data to better defend against the potential abuse and neglect of beneficiaries.”