Govt. Audit Finds Antipsychotic Drugs Often Overused In Nursing Homes
More than half of the antipsychotics paid for by Medicare in the first half of 2007 were "erroneous," the audit found, costing the program $116 million during those six months.
The New York Times: Antipsychotic Drugs Called Hazardous For The Elderly
Nearly one in seven elderly nursing home residents, nearly all of them with dementia, are given powerful atypical antipsychotic drugs even though the medicines increase the risks of death and are not approved for such treatments, a government audit found. More than half of the antipsychotics paid for by the federal Medicare program in the first half of 2007 were "erroneous," the audit found, costing the program $116 million for those six months (Harris, 5/9).
The Hill: Senators Question Medicare Payments For Certain Drugs In Nursing Homes
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) want Medicare to explain why it wrongly paid millions of dollars in claims for drugs that were given to seniors for unapproved uses. According to a report from the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general, 88 percent of the antipsychotic drugs administered in nursing homes were prescribed for uses that the Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved. Medicare provides coverage for some unapproved uses, but the senators suggested that the report's findings might indicate a flawed decision-making system (Baker, 5/9).
CBS: (Video) Gov't Finds Nursing Homes Misuse Antipsychotics
You hope and pray your relative will be well-cared for. But a troubling new report from the government finds that, all too often, nursing homes are giving antipsychotic drugs to patients who should not be getting them. CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports Debra Burchard moved her ailing father William Killingsworth into a Northern California nursing home in September 2005. Within days - she says - he had completely changed (Keteyian, 5/9).
Modern Healthcare: GAO Urges Closer Oversight Of Nursing Home Investigations
The GAO examined the CMS' state agency complaints database following concerns raised in Congress about the timeliness and adequacy of nursing home complaint investigations and CMS' oversight of them. The GAO found that "many state survey agencies had difficulty meeting some of CMS' nursing home complaint standards," according to a GAO summary (Barr, 5/9).
In related news -
Politico Pro: GAO: CMS Should Track Complaints Better
The Government Accountability Office released a report Monday questioning whether CMS is doing enough to ensure that nursing home complaint data is "reliable and consistent" and recommending that CMS work with states to ensure complaints are substantiated. The GAO also recommended that CMS should perform better oversight of how state surveyors monitor the nursing homes and focus on how they document deficiencies, prioritize complaints and generally assess the "quality of investigations" (Coughlin, 5/9).