People looking for information about nursing homes will find detailed information from inspection reports and use of antipsychotic medications at a website updated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service.
Federal regulators have been looking for ways to reduce inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs, such as Seroquel and Risperdal, for elderly nursing home residents after a 2011 Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General report found 14 percent of all nursing home residents with Medicare had claims for antipsychotics.
These drugs are approved for use by people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but the Food and Drug Administration has warned that antipsychotics are associated with a higher risk of death for people with dementia. Medicare officials recommend trying other interventions such as physical activity and consistent staffing before prescribing these drugs.
About one in four nursing home patients in California is prescribed antipsychotics, according to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, an advocacy group, which launched a campaign to stop using drugs as a substitute for care.
It may be even more prevalent, according to a two-year inquiry completed in May by the California Department of Public
Health, which found inappropriate use at 69 percent of the nursing homes investigated.
The site at
Medicare also has updated the Hospital Compare website to include metrics on overuse of imaging services, which has arisen as a concern because of the potential for excess radiation. That site, which allows comparisons of three facilities at a time, is at www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare.
Hospital Compare had about 1 million visitors in the first part of 2012, and Nursing Home Compare about 500,000 visitors, according to Medicare officials.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jondi Gumz on Twitter @jondigumz
Follow Sentinel reporter Jondi Gumz on Twitter: <a href
' http://twitter.com/jondigumz '>@jondigumz</a>
©2012 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at www.santacruzsentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services