CMS To Conduct Targeted Audits To Reduce Inappropriate Use Of Antipsychotic Drugs Among Nursing Home Patients.
USA Today (1/18, Alltucker) reports the Biden Administration “this month will begin spot audits of nursing home use of antipsychotic drugs in an effort to cut down on inappropriate prescriptions” based on an HHS OIG investigation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “will conduct ‘targeted, off-site audits’ to check whether nursing home patients who are prescribed the drugs have a schizophrenia diagnosis.” The program “is part of the Biden administration’s larger effort to address long-standing patient safety and staffing shortcomings at nursing homes, which were among the deadliest places during COVID-19’s winter 2020 surge.” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said, “We have made significant progress in decreasing the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes, but more needs to be done. 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.”
The AP (1/18, Seitz) reports, “Evidence has mounted over decades that some facilities wrongly diagnose residents with schizophrenia or administer antipsychotic drugs to sedate them, despite dangerous side effects that could include death, according to” CMS. In a statement Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “No nursing home resident should be improperly diagnosed with schizophrenia or given an inappropriate antipsychotic. The steps we are taking today will help prevent these errors and give families peace of mind.” An HHS OIG report in November 2022 “revealed that the number of residents reported as having schizophrenia without a corresponding diagnosis skyrocketed between 2015 and 2019, with 99 nursing homes in the country reporting that 20% or more of their residents have the disorder.”