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Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Inspector General -- AUDIT

"Survey of Physical and Sexual Abuse in Alabama Nursing Homes," (A-04-03-07027)

June 7, 2004

Complete Text of Report is available in PDF format (1.3 mb). Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Office of Public Affairs at 202-619-1343.


The objective of our review was to determine if the Alabama Department of Public Health – Complaint Unit (Survey Agency) properly investigates, tracks, and monitors physical and sexual abuse in nursing facilities in a timely manner.  Our review revealed that changes should be made to improve the methodology currently used to investigate, track, and monitor physical and sexual abuse complaints as reported by nursing facilities.  We recommend that the Survey Agency:  (1) investigate complaints within established timeframes and notify CMS of all abuse complaint backlogs and request assistance from CMS to help restore the workload to a manageable level, (2) improve policies and procedures to include detailed instructions for tracking and monitoring all complaints received, (3) update the registry in accordance with Federal requirements and place a higher priority on abuse complaints that have already been substantiated by the nursing facilities, and (4) encourage nursing facilities and their employees to report abuse allegations in accordance with Federal and State regulations by citing the nursing facilities with deficiencies.