SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Government investigators have found that Medicare paid billions in taxpayer dollars to nursing homes nationwide that were not meeting basic requirements to look after their residents.
The report, released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general, says Medicare paid about $5.1 billion for patients to stay in skilled nursing facilities that failed to meet federal quality of care rules in 2009 - in some cases resulting in dangerous and neglectful conditions.
Investigators estimated that one out of every three times patients wound up in nursing homes that year, they landed in facilities that failed to follow basic care requirements laid out by the federal agency that administers Medicare.
By law, nursing homes need to write up care plans specially tailored for each resident.
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