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Study Confirms that Many Nursing Homes Don't Report Abuse to the Government

By Jack H. FarnbauchSeptember 7, 2017

In a shocking new study of nursing homes, many cases of sexual and/or physical abuse that occur at nursing homes goes unreported. More than 25 percent of cases of possible sexual and physical abuse against nursing home patients went unreported to police, says a government audit that faults Medicare for failing to enforce a federal law requiring immediate notification. The report was published by the inspector general. 

The report found that there were 134 cases in which emergency room records indicated possible sexual or physical abuse, or neglect. The incidents spanned a two-year period from 2015-2016. Illinois had the largest number of incidents overall, with 17. It was followed by Michigan (13), Texas (9), and California (8). In 38 of the total cases (28 percent), investigators could find no evidence in hospital records that the incident had been reported to local law enforcement, despite a federal law requiring prompt reporting by nursing homes, as well as similar state and local requirements.

The federal statute has been around more than five years, but investigators found that Medicare has not enforced its requirement to report incidents to police and other agencies, or risk fines of up to $300,000. 

You can read the entire report here.