Majority Press

New Report Reveals More than 20,000 Serious Health and Safety Incidents in Assisted Living Facilities Nationwide

The New York Times recently published an article, U.S. Pays Billions for ‘Assisted Living,’ but What Does It Get? on the GAO’s findings

Washington, D.C. – U.S Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced the release of a new report, completed at their request by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), on the oversight of and quality of care provided to Medicaid enrollees in assisted living facilities. 


The GAO report found that 26 State Medicaid agencies could not report to GAO the number of “critical incidents” – serious health and safety problems that could include physical assaults, sexual abuse, unexplained death, unauthorized use of restraints, medication errors, and inappropriate discharges or evictions – occurring in assisted living facilities in their state.  The 22 states that did track this information used different definitions of critical incidents, further complicating effective oversight of such facilities. 


 “With more and more Americans living in assisted living facilities supported by billions in Medicaid dollars, the federal government must help ensure that our seniors and disabled residents receive quality care.  Yet, the GAO uncovered a number of troubling issues at some assisted living facilities across the country, ranging from serious health and safety risks to fragmented data that make oversight difficult.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to support policies that improve the well-being of seniors who receive care at these facilities,” said Senator Collins.


In July 2015, the senators requested that the GAO investigate to better understand federal and state oversight of these facilities, which increasingly receive Medicaid dollars but are not subject to the same federal rules as nursing homes. GAO found that in 2014, State Medicaid agencies reported spending over $10 billion in federal and state funds on assisted living services, providing care to 330,000 people. 


GAO’s report makes several recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve reporting and oversight related to Medicaid spending in assisted living facilities.


Click HERE to read the full report.