GAO: Nursing Home Surveyors Need To Do More To Prevent Abuse

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 - 5:01pm

The number of abuse cases in nursing homes has more than doubled in the U.S. That’s according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at data from the federal agency responsible for making sure nursing homes are safe and free from abuse.

There are more than 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. that provide care to about 1.4 million people. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, or CMS, works with state agencies to conduct its yearly inspections. The GAO analyzed data, as well as narratives from contracted CMS surveyors, as it relates to the abuse of residents.  

John Dicken is with the GAO.

"You know, I think that from the data side, we were concerned that nationally that there has been an increase from 2013 to 2017. You know, that’s pretty widespread. Most states saw an increase during that time period," he said.

Those states include Arizona. Still, abuse is rare, Dicken said. The GAO made six recommendations, including that information like what type of abuse occurred and who the perpetrator was be included in its surveys. Currently CMS can’t access information about either in its data. 

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