As part of its Eye on Oversight series, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS OIG) recently released a video addressing the alarming prevalence of patient abuse and neglect in America’s nursing homes.
As HHS OIG notes in that video, investigators tasked with uncovering and stopping this type of abuse find three issues coming up again and again: (1) a lack of proper staffing and supplies; (2) overmedication of patients; and (3) individual bad actors who should not be caring for patients in the first place. These issues are, first and foremost, issues of patient care, as nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that their residents are treated with dignity and respect. However, given that Medicare and Medicaid pay billions of dollars each year in reimbursement to nursing homes, patient abuse can and frequently does also amount to fraud against the government.
Due to their limited resources, state and federal investigators can never hope to uncover all of this fraud and abuse on their own. That makes it all the more important for private citizens with knowledge of nursing home fraud and abuse to come forward. These whistleblowers have the ability not only to save the government millions of dollars, but also to make lives better for some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
The HHS OIG’s video can be found here:
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