Audit Antipsychotics

In 2012, CMS began requiring nursing homes to report antipsychotic drug use data. Some providers and quality experts are questioning why the agency hasn’t done more to review its quality measure for antipsychotic drug use. Now, CMS will audit nursing homes to determine how many residents are misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Less than 1% of the population is believed to have schizophrenia, which is marked by delusions, hallucinations and disordered thinking. The “misdiagnosis” is meant to skirt reporting requirements for antipsychotic drugs. Experts also worry that these drugs are being prescribed to sedate residents when facilities face staff shortages.

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a press release:

“People in nursing homes deserve safe, high-quality care, and we are redoubling our oversight efforts to make sure that facilities are not prescribing unnecessary medications.”

Organizations that misdiagnose patients could see their CMS quality score drop to just one star. “The Refinement of the Nursing Home Antipsychotic Medication Measures Technical Expert Panel (TEP) convened at the end of February. The final TEP report should be available soon.

We need to eliminate the unnecessary use of psychotropic drugs in nursing homes because they cause higher mortality for people with dementia.

Senator Grassley is a Republican senator from Iowa. He has been in the Senate since 1981 and is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. He wrote a great letter about the abuse of antipsychotics in the nursing home industry.