“It can be hard to quantify the problem of elder abuse. Experts believe that many cases go unreported. And Wednesday morning, their belief was confirmed by two new government studies.
The research, conducted and published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, finds that in many cases of abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies, though that’s required by law.
One of the studies focuses solely on the possible abuse of nursing home residents who end up in emergency rooms. The report looks at claims sent to Medicare in 2016 for treatment of head injuries, body bruises, bed sores and other diagnoses that might indicate physical abuse, sexual abuse or severe neglect.
Gloria Jarmon, deputy inspector general for audit services, says her team found that nursing homes failed to report nearly 1 in 5 of these potential cases to the state inspection agencies charged with investigating them…
Elder abuse occurs in many settings — not just nursing homes. The second studylooked at Medicare claims for the treatment of potential abuse or neglect of older adults, regardless of where it took place. The data were collected on incidents occurring between January of 2015 and June of 2017.
The federal auditors projected that, of more than 30,000 potential cases, health care providers failed to report nearly a third of the incidents to law enforcement or Adult Protective Services, even though the law requires them to make such reports.
“It’s very important that the first person who notices this potential abuse and neglect reports it, because then they can begin the investigative process to determine if abuse or neglect occurred,” says Jarmon. “And if it’s not reported, it can’t be tracked.”
The HHS report says that Medicare could do a better job of analyzing the data it has on hand…”
Read more at NPR…