HHS report details $5B in Medicare waste at nation’s nursing homes

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HHS report details $5B in Medicare waste at nation's nursing homesA new federal study finds that the Medicare healthcare insurance paid out more than $5 billion in one year for substandard, neglectful, and abusive care at nursing homes across the country.

According to an Associated Press report, the Dept. of Health and Human Services has released a report detailing at least $5.1 billion in what it determined to be wasteful spending on poor and potentially harmful care at nursing homes that received Medicare funding in 2009, the latest year such data was available.

Nursing home and other skilled nursing facilities must establish a minimum standard of care that is supposed to be overseen by the federal government in order to receive Medicare reimbursements for the care they provide to residents.

Based on the research and data available to HHS, Medicare paid out billions for drugs and treatments that were either dangerous, pointless and expensive, or below the minimum safety standards.

Deep budget cuts at many nursing home facilities across the country have forced them into making poor staffing decisions and often to cut corners on their regular standards. Each year, thousands of residents of nursing homes are abused or neglected due to poor standard practices at these facilities.

The HHS report found that one in every three nursing home residents that receives Medicare funding is receiving poor or sub-standard care that could be putting them at risk of serious injuries or death.