The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), held a hearing today examining federal efforts to ensure that residents of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Nursing Facilities (NFs), participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, receive the proper standard of care and are protected from abuse or neglect.
“Today the subcommittee continues its work examining whether the federal government is meeting its obligations to ensure that residents in nursing homes across the country are free from abuse and are receiving the quality of care they deserve,” said #SubOversight Chairman Harper. “Protecting our most vulnerable citizens is among the most fundamental responsibilities entrusted to the federal government, and it is also a responsibility that we, as Americans, all share.”
- John Dicken, Director, Health Care, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (Opening Statement)
- Ruth Ann Dorrill, Regional Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (Opening Statement)
- Kate Goodrich, Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, and Chief Medical Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (Opening Statement)
Many nursing homes provide excellent care and are diligent in protecting their residents. But an alarming number of residents are subject to costly medical harm, unsafe conditions, and abuse and neglect, much of it preventable with better practices and oversight,” said Ms. Dorrill. “…With an aging population and heightened focus on value-driven care, it is increasingly critical that Federal and State funds are used to purchase safe, high-quality care for vulnerable elderly and disabled patients.”
Ms. Dorrill also testified that, “Decades of OIG work on nursing homes has uncovered widespread problems in providing safe, high-quality care and reporting problems when they occur. We found that one in three Medicare residents in skilled nursing facilities experienced harm from the care provided, and half of these harm events were preventable. In addition, nursing homes affected by disasters, such as hurricanes, often struggle to execute emergency plans and protect residents. We have also raised concerns about failures to report potential cases of abuse and neglect. Criminal and civil enforcement actions have uncovered misconduct and grossly substandard care. State Agencies play a crucial role in ensuring quality and safety in nursing homes. However, OIG has found mixed results in these agencies’ attention to nursing home deficiency corrections and complaints.”
“On any given day, 1.4 million Americans reside in the more than 15,000 nursing homes across our country. The overwhelming majority of these nursing homes provide high quality, life-saving care to their residents,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “…One provider I spoke with recently has a facility in Redding, California, and set a good example of what to strive for in preparing for an emergency, with 200 seats on buses ready to go at a moment’s notice, and agreements with providers in Klamath Falls, Oregon to house their patients if this summer’s devastating wildfires threatened their facility.”
In October 2017, bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent a letter to the owner of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Florida, following the deaths of at least 12 residents in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma. In April 2018, Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent a letter to CMS regarding media reports detailing abuse, neglect, and patient harm at SNFs and NFs participating in Medicare and/or Medicaid.
The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast are available online HERE.