Feds to Investigate Nursing Home Abuse of Antipsychotics

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WASHINGTON—The national authorities says it volition statesman a targeted crackdown connected nursing homes’ abuse of antipsychotic drugs and misdiagnoses of schizophrenia successful patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is launching investigations this period into prime nursing homes, aimed astatine verifying whether patients person been decently diagnosed with the psychiatric disorder.

Evidence has mounted implicit decades that immoderate facilities wrongly diagnose residents with schizophrenia oregon administer antipsychotic drugs to sedate them, contempt unsafe broadside effects that could see death, according to the agency.

“No nursing location nonmigratory should beryllium improperly diagnosed with schizophrenia oregon fixed an inappropriate antipsychotic,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said successful a connection connected Jan. 18. “The steps we are taking contiguous volition assistance forestall these errors and springiness families bid of mind.”

Some facilities whitethorn beryllium dodging accrued scrutiny astir gratuitous usage of antipsychotic medications by coding residents arsenic having schizophrenia, adjacent erstwhile they bash not amusement signs of the highly uncommon disorder, a authorities study past twelvemonth found. Less than 1 percent of the colonisation is believed to person schizophrenia, which is marked by delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking.

In 2012, the national authorities began tracking erstwhile nursing homes usage antipsychotics connected residents—doing truthful tin interaction the facility’s prime standing successful a nationalist database—but lone for those who person not been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Antipsychotics for those nursing location residents has dropped to nether 20 percent successful caller years, according to national data.

A November study from the HHS Office of the Inspector General, however, revealed that the fig of residents reported arsenic having schizophrenia without a corresponding diagnosis skyrocketed betwixt 2015 and 2019, with 99 nursing homes successful the state reporting that 20 percent oregon much of their residents person the disorder.

“The fig of unsupported schizophrenia diagnoses accrued and successful 2019 was concentrated successful comparatively fewer nursing homes,” the study concluded.

Nursing homes person worked connected different ways to dainty residents, particularly those with dementia, and trained unit to usage alternate methods, said Katie Smith Sloan, the CEO of LeadingAge, an relation of nonprofit aging work providers.

“Much has been achieved since the program’s commencement successful 2012, and nursing homes merit a batch of the recognition for the progress,” she said successful a statement.

CMS volition commencement targeted audits to inquire nursing homes for documentation of the diagnoses successful the coming days, focusing connected nursing homes with existing residents who person been recorded arsenic having schizophrenia.

The standing scores for nursing homes that person a signifier of inaccurately coding residents arsenic having schizophrenia volition beryllium negatively impacted, CMS said successful a connection released connected Jan. 18, stopping abbreviated of threatening to levy fines against facilities.