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Early Alert: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Has Inadequate Procedures To Ensure That Incidents of Potential Abuse or Neglect at Skilled Nursing Facilities Are Identified and Reported in Accordance With Applicable Requirements

This memorandum alerts the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to the preliminary results of our ongoing review of potential abuse or neglect of Medicare beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). This audit is part of the ongoing efforts of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to detect and combat elder abuse. We are communicating these preliminary results because of the importance of detecting and combating elder abuse. Also, according to Government Auditing Standards, "early communication to those charged with governance or management may be important because of their relative significance and the urgency for corrective follow-up action."

We identified 134 Medicare beneficiaries whose injuries may have been the result of potential abuse or neglect that occurred from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2016. We also found that a significant percentage of these incidents may not have been reported to law enforcement. As a result, we determined that CMS has inadequate procedures to ensure that incidents of potential abuse or neglect of Medicare beneficiaries residing in SNFs are identified and reported. Accordingly, this Early Alert contains suggestions for immediate actions that CMS can take to ensure better protection of vulnerable beneficiaries.