Overmedication in Nursing Homes – Schizophrenia.

CMS Tries to Stop Nursing Homes Neglecting Residents – Investigating Bogus Schizophrenia Claims Leading to Overmedication.

Sacrament elder abuse attorney Sean Laird discusses overmedication in nursing homes: Nursing homes neglect true needs of residents by claiming they have “schizophrenia” and thus need to be drugged into submission.

As an elder abuse and neglect law firm in Sacramento, we wanted to inform you about the recent changes to the Five-Star Quality Rating System of the CMS (Center for Medicare Services) Nursing Home Care Compare website. This is the websites that gives star rankings to nursing homes. These rankings have been criticized for a variety of reasons, but they are making a changes to help stop overmedication of nursing home patients – often a sign of neglect.

CMS announced its concerns that some nursing homes have erroneously diagnosed with schizophrenia, which can mask the facilities’ true rate of antipsychotic medication use. Meaning, nursing homes are using false diagnoses to overmedicate residents. To address this, CMS is conducting audits of schizophrenia coding in the Minimum Data Set data (“MDS”), and based on the results, changing the nursings home’s star ratings for facilities whose audits reveal false coding. Identified facilities with the false schizophrenia diagnoses will have their star ratings adjusted.

Additionally, to increase transparency, CMS will now display citations of nursing homes under informal dispute on the Nursing Home Care Compare website. Currently, these are not posted publicly on the website until the dispute is complete, which can take more than 60 days. This process leaves consumers without knowledge of serious citations at nursing homes, including instances of non-compliance that placed the health and safety of residents at risk for serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment, or death.

We believe that these changes will are a small step to reduce the use of unnecessary antipsychotics, improve the accuracy of the quality measure, and the five-star rating system. We will continue to monitor these changes to ensure that our clients’ interests are protected.  Contact us if you have questions.

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