GAO Releases Reports on Medicaid Transfers, Nursing Homes

(2007) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released two new reports that advocates for older persons and people with disabilities will find very significant, albeit depressing.

The first report, “Few Transferred Assets before Applying for Nursing Home Coverage; Impact of Deficit Reduction Act on Eligibility is Uncertain,” GAO-07-280 (March 2007), finds that only a small percentage of Medicaid long-term care (LTC) applicants made transfers for less than fair market value (FMV) before applying, and that almost all of these transfers were for modest amounts that did not result in prospective Medicaid penalty periods. These findings are published at a time when most states are in the process of implementing the DRA’s harsh new penalty methodology, a methodology that supporters asserted during the DRA’s congressional debates was necessary to curb an allegedly pervasive asset transfer practice. Read the report (link to GAO website)

The second report, “Efforts to Strengthen Federal Enforcement Have Not Deterred Some Homes from Repeatedly Harming Residents,” GAO-07-241 (March 2007), explains how CMS’ weak enforcement of federal nursing home quality care standards has allowed facilities with a history of violations to continue to harm its residents. Read the report (link to GAO website)

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