General News

Government Needs To Improve Oversight of Psychiatric Drugging of Vulnerable Populations

Federal lawmakers received two major reports last week on the troubling lack of oversight at the federal level of the prescribing of psychiatric drugs to two of our nation’s most vulnerable populations:  foster children and the elderly in care facilities.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the massive psychiatric drugging of foster children recommended that federal health officials do more to monitor how state agencies oversee Medicaid doctors’ prescribing of powerful, mind-altering drugs to children who end up in the state’s care after being abused, neglected or abandoned.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., requested the GAO investigation after receiving numerous complaints about the quantity of drugs being prescribed and the adverse effects of the drugs experienced by foster kids.

The GAO recommended that the US Department of Health and Human Services  come up with guidance for states on how to oversee the prescribing of psychiatric drugs for foster children.

In a separate investigation, government inspectors called on Medicare officials to do more to stop doctors from prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs for the elderly living in care facilities.

In particular, antipsychotics are given to hundreds of thousands of elderly nursing home patients to sedate them and make them more manageable.

But the drugs carry an increased risk of death for seniors, which led the FDA to issue warnings against prescribing the drugs to the elderly.

Despite repeated government warnings, the unapproved practice has continued.

The HHS Inspector General told the Senate Committee on Aging that Medicare should begin penalizing nursing homes that overdrug with antipsychotics .  Medicare could force nursing homes to pay for drugs that are prescribed wrongly and bar the facilities from the Medicare program.

If you know a foster child or nursing home patient who has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

News for Colorado

Watch For The Overdrugging Of Nursing Home Patients

Colorado Ombudsman Warns Medicare/Medicaid Cuts Threaten Quality of Care

Cuts in federal and state payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients provide yet another reason for monitoring the drugs given to a loved one in a nursing home or convalescent facility.

Medicare will cut payments for short-term nursing home stays by 11.1% starting on October 1. The state Medicaid rate has been cut 1.5%. The likely result is staff layoffs and reduced expenditures for care at the facilities.

Shelley Hitt, the Colorado state ombudsman for nursing home residents, says: “We’re very concerned about what [the cuts] might mean for quality of care and operational impacts.”

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Colorado echoes her concern, particularly with regard to any use of psychiatric drugs as chemical restraints to put nursing home patients into a zombie-like condition or to put them to sleep for the convenience of the reduced number of staff.

Ask Questions About The Psychiatric Drugs Being Prescribed

Here are some questions to ask the facility’s nursing staff about the psychiatric drugs prescribed to your loved one:

• What psychiatric drugs have been prescribed and in what amounts?
• Why was each drug prescribed?
• Is there any specific, measurable positive outcome for the patient of taking each drug?
• What are the risks and side effects of each drug?

You can check for the adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs, as detailed in research studies, warnings from international regulatory authorities, and reports to the FDA, by going to CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

With all this information, you can determine whether there is any benefit to your loved one from psychiatric drugs, especially in light of the many dangerous and potentially deadly side effects of these drugs for vulnerable, elderly patients.

For more information about the dangers to the elderly of psychiatric drugs, and about how psychiatric drugs are used as chemical restraints on the elderly in nursing homes, click here.

If someone you know has been wrongly drugged with psychiatric drugs in a nursing home or convalescent facility, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225. All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We also welcome your comments below.


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