This week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that it has begun inspecting nursing homes throughout the country to see whether or not they are correctly diagnosing & treating senior citizens for schizophrenia.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has said that it intends to address the issue of drug addiction that is prevalent in nursing homes throughout the United States. This is in response to the widespread abuse and misuse of antipsychotic prescription drugs among elderly patients.
According to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator of CMS, nursing home residents need safer, high-quality care, and we're redoubling our supervision efforts to ensure that institutions are not dispensing needless prescriptions."
The findings of the audits will be analyzed and utilized as data in order to determine ratings for nursing facilities throughout the country. Those who are discovered to have been overprescribing the medications to patients or giving them out to residents like candy will earn worse ratings than those who are providing residents with the appropriate level of care.
The inhabitants of many nursing homes are being dangerously sedated with schizophrenic medicines as a means of keeping them submissive and easy to handle while also raking in the bucks each month for their boarding. Despite the fact that this violates the law, it is an issue that is pervasive across the United States.
According to a report that was released by the Inspector General of the Department of Health Services (HHS) in November of 2018, approximately eighty percent of Medicare's long-stay residents of nursing homes were given a prescription for at least one psychoactive drug between the years 2011 and 2019.
According to The Wall Street Journal, "that number includes the antipsychotic medications that CMS has targeted in addition to anticonvulsants, that the oversight committee said were also being increasingly utilized in nursing homes."
Antipsychotic medication is provided to a significant number of senior nursing home patients who do not suffer from any kind of mental disorder in order to keep them calm and compliant.
The inspector general discovered that a startling number of prescriptions written in 2011 did not comply with federal standards. This has resulted in the injury and death of a great number of nursing home patients who did not even suffer from mental illness and who should not have been given the medications in the first place.
"The nursing home sector has been using for eons such antipsychotics as a form to immobilize our most frail as well as vulnerable citizens," said Martha Deaver, an advocate based in Arkansas for healthcare residents and their family members. Deaver is opposed to the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes.
"This is a problem that may have been resolved in a different way. If the CMS had done its job properly, many lives may have been spared throughout the course of the several administrations.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which was previously meant to be monitoring drugging procedures at nursing homes, has decided to implement a new approach that would include conducting targeted assessments of nursing facilities that have a trend of false schizophrenia diagnoses. On the Medicare Care Compare website, the star rating of any facility that is discovered to be prescribing medication to residents in an unsafe manner will be reduced.
In addition, the inspection findings will be made public, and this will occur regardless of whether or not the nursing facilities in issue dispute the accusations. In the past, these findings were not publicly disclosed until the resolution of the dispute had been finalized, a process that may take up to two months or even longer.
The star rating of a nursing home would not go down until the arbitration process was over, but in the meanwhile, the general public would be allowed to view the report and judge for themselves if or not the institution is appropriate for the resident's needs.
The federal government is also taking measures to tighten down on the excessive use of antipsychotic medications among those who have a valid mental illness. In 2012, CMS began offering a program designed exclusively for persons living with dementia to assist them in reducing the amount of antipsychotic medication they use.
Four years later, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it had achieved its goal of reducing the number of prescriptions for these mind-altering medications by thirty percent; however, the agency is still empowering nursing homes to continue working toward reduced use of these medications.
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