Skilled Nursing News reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will investigate wrongful evictions and unsafe discharges. OIG’s formal work plan includes a probe into unplanned discharges.
“A facility-initiated transfer or discharge of a resident from a nursing home can be an unsafe and traumatic experience for the resident and his or her family,” the OIG observed.
The government’s health care watchdog announced a plan to investigate whether nursing homes are following rules around discharges. OIG specifically cited media reports about improper evictions from facilities. The New York Times published a piece exploring an apparent rise in improper discharges.
“The media has highlighted the rise in nursing home evictions,” the OIG observed.
Discharges and evictions were the most common complaint from 2011 to 2016 according to data from the National Ombudsman Reporting System. This patient dumping is illegal, amoral, and unsafe.
CMS targeted wrongful evictions or unsafe discharges before. In a December 2017 memo to operators, CMS proposed potential solutions to the problem.
“Discharges … can be unsafe and/or traumatic for residents and their families,” David R. Wright, director of CMS’s Survey and Certification Group, wrote in the memo.