Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) are required to develop a care plan for each beneficiary and provide services in accordance with the care plan, as well as to plan for each beneficiary’s discharge. Several Office of Inspector General studies and investigations found that SNFs had deficiencies in quality of care, did not develop appropriate care plans, and failed to provide adequate care to beneficiaries. In fiscal year 2012, Medicare paid $32.2 billion for SNF services. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)’s Office of Inspector General released a report as part of a larger body of work about SNF payments and quality of care. This study (SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES OFTEN FAIL TO MEET CARE PLANNING AND DISCHARGE PLANNING REQUIREMENTS) was based on a medical record review of a stratified simple random sample of SNF stays from 2009. The reviewers determined the extent to which SNFs developed care plans that met Medicare requirements, provided services in accordance with care plans, and planned for beneficiaries’ discharges as required. Reviewers also identified examples of poor quality care.
The researchers found that for 37 percent of stays, SNFs did not develop care plans that met requirements or did not provide services in accordance with care plans. For 31 percent of stays, SNFs did not meet discharge planning requirements. Medicare paid approximately $5.1 billion for stays in which SNFs did not meet these quality-of-care requirements. Additionally, reviewers found examples of poor quality care related to wound care, medication management, and therapy. These findings raise concerns about what Medicare is paying for. They also demonstrate that SNF oversight needs to be strengthened to ensure that SNFs perform appropriate care planning and discharge planning