October 2, 2019

WHAT CAN POLICY MAKERS DO TO IMPROVE NURSING HOME CARE AND OVERSIGHT WITHOUT BUSTING A BUDGET?

By now, many of us have encountered headlines about poor oversight, abuse or profiteering at nursing homes across the country. 

David Stevenson, PhD, professor of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the university's School of Medicine, suggests three areas where policy makers and agencies can focus their efforts to improve nursing home care without breaking the bank. Stevenson outlines these suggestions in a new blog published by Health Affairs, a national journal. 

Stevenson recommends policy makers focus on transparency, targeting of surveys and coordination of oversight as the three areas that could make immediate headway, and would be mostly budget neutral.

Poor care and oversight have occurred numerous times in recent years, and were highlighted this summer by alarming reports from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, federal policy makers and agencies have held hearings and issued calls for improved oversight and care, but much needs to be done, Stevenson argues.

The U.S. Senate has held hearings and issued calls for CMS to improve its Special Focus Facilities Program and held committee hearings aimed to "learn the facts and find workable solutions," Stevenson notes. 

"A systems-oriented approach is a wise long-run strategy; yet, these elements must be supplemented by provisions to bolster the immediate effectiveness of nursing home oversight," Stevenson writes.

Read the full blog, published Oct. 1, here: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20190926.292183/full/