KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GAO Finds That A Federal Program Is Missing Problem Nursing Homes

The Associated Press reports: Federal investigators report that a  government-run program designed to bring "extra scrutiny to poorly performing nursing homes" is missing "hundreds of troubled facilities" that could qualify the closer look. "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identifies up to 136 nursing homes as 'special focus facilities' subject to more frequent inspections because of their living conditions. In every state except for Alaska, there are between one and six such facilities. But investigators said four times as many homes, or 580, could be considered among the nation's worst."

Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, said the new investigation by the Government Accountability Office indicated that the government's "special focus" is too limited. The GAO recommended expanding the program two years ago. The AP notes: "Federal officials agreed with the concept, but said they didn't have the resources to do so. The report being released Monday also suggests adjusting the methods used to identify the worst performing nursing homes" (Freking, 9/27).

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