December 2, 2019

KILLING HIS BASE:

The White House Says Nursing Home Regulations Are Too Tough (Ina Jaffe, November 30, 2019, Weekend Edition)

SIMON: These are proposed changes. What might change if they're approved?

JAFFE: Well, one proposal that's attracted a lot of attention would change the way antipsychotic drugs can be prescribed. Now, Scott, these are drugs that are approved for treating serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia. They also come with a black box warning that says they can raise the risk of death in older people with dementia. But in nursing homes, that's usually who gets them. It's a practice that's widely criticized. So the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, has spent years trying to get nursing homes to reduce the use of antipsychotics. But critics say the proposed new rule would actually make it easier to prescribe them.

SIMON: Why would the government make it easier to do something they've been discouraging?

JAFFE: Well, currently, if a nursing home resident gets a new prescription for an antipsychotic, it can't be renewed after two weeks without a doctor's exam. But under the proposed rule, the doctor could keep renewing the prescription without seeing the patient again for a month or two. This has been condemned by elder rights organizations like the Long Term Care Community Coalition. Their executive director, Richard Mollot, told me that the physician he's consulted also condemns the proposal.

RICHARD MOLLOT: What he said was that no other insurance company would ever accept that a doctor didn't have to see a patient before continuing a prescription for medicine. But CMS is saying now that that's OK for nursing homes in this very vulnerable population. And people die from this. They're affected so catastrophically.

Posted by at December 2, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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