Caring and Competent Representation Across New Mexico

Inspector general finds hospice facility flaws

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2019 | Firm News

Nursing home abuse affects millions of residents. In fact, studies have found that one out of 10 residents is in danger of deliberate acts or negligent inaction. The statistics are alarming, particularly when considering that far too many cases go unreported.

Similar to nursing home facilities, hospice homes provide much-needed comfort for the elderly and infirmed as they face the end of their lives.

Substandard conditions and serious lapses in care

While many presume that compassionate care is the top priority when caring for people facing death, federal health inspectors see otherwise. They issued citations for 87% of hospices in the United States from 2012 to 2016. Twenty percent of those facilities were called out for lapses that put their patients at serious risk.

The findings were a long time coming and represent the federal government’s first in-depth look into hospice care nationwide. The results were equally alarming after revelations that these facilities fell short of a fundamental requirement: care planning.

Federal oversight and sanctions are limited

It’s easier said than done to find hospices that provide quality care. Information on these facilities is scant. The consumer website for The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) fails to provide that all-important data, in spite of having the authority to release portions of information to help people make decisions for their family members.

The federal agency’s limitations do not end there. The ability to impose penalties is limited. The agency doesn’t have the authority to remove cited facilities from the Medicare program or impose any type of fine.

Unless the government agency puts some teeth behind their so-called “sanctions” and provides some form of punishment that incentivizes hospice care facilities to make improvements and provide quality care, conditions will only become more dangerous and dire.

If you believe your loved one has suffered due to neglect in a hospice facility or nursing home, you may want to considers peaking with an attorney about your options for holding the facility accountable.