U.S. Nursing Homes Standards Not Properly Enforced: Report

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U.S. government oversight of nursing homes is criticized in a new report to be released next week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an investigative arm of Congress.

The report said that nursing homes repeatedly cited for mistreatment of patients receive only minimal penalties,The New York Timesreported. As a result of the weak penalties, some nursing homes don’t consistently meet federal standards and pose an ongoing threat to patient health and safety, the GAO said.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department “fails to hold homes with a long history of harming residents accountable for the poor care provided,” the report said.

“Some of these homes repeatedly harmed residents over a six-year period and yet remain in the Medicare and Medicaid program,” the report noted.

In 1987, Congress established strict standards for nursing homes, theTimesreported. In 1998, a GAO report said that “homes can repeatedly harm residents without facing sanctions.”

Since then, a number of new initiatives to improve care were announced by the federal government and nursing home industry.

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