Feds Would Expand Use of Drugs Criticized in Vermont Eldercare Lawsuit | Off Message

Feds Would Expand Use of Drugs Criticized in Vermont Eldercare Lawsuit


June Kelly looking at photos of her mother, Marilyn - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • June Kelly looking at photos of her mother, Marilyn
The administration of President Donald Trump is seeking to curtail nursing home regulations, including those that limit the use of antipsychotic drugs in dementia patients.

NPR reported Saturday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which regulates nursing homes, is proposing a slate of rules that would save operators a collective $600 million annually. The proposal is the latest way the Trump administration is working to loosen strict federal oversight of the industry. CMS has already reduced the fines paid by homes that violate rules.

Using certain antipsychotic drugs to medicate elders with dementia has been widely criticized because that can hasten cognitive decline. Last week, Seven Days and Vermont Public Radio reported allegations by Vermont women that their late mother, Marilyn Kelly, had been quietly drugged with daily doses of Haldol, a powerful and sedating medication, in a residential care home in Rutland.
Marilyn's daughter, June, said she was initially unaware that Our House Too was giving her mother Haldol. Family members who arrived to visit found her in a stupor, they said.

"There was no discussion about putting Mom on Haldol," June alleged. "There was no discussion about the implications of what Haldol would do to our loved one."

A co-owner of the home declined to comment. In court filings in a suit related to Marilyn's treatment, the home has denied that it administered the medication inappropriately. Residential care homes such as Our House Too and assisted living facilities are regulated by states, and the Trump proposal would not immediately affect the 133 such facilities in Vermont.

But 40 nursing homes in the state would be affected.

Eldercare advocates have criticized the proposal, which would extend the amount of time for which doctors could prescribe antipsychotic drugs to nursing home residents between examinations, NPR reported. 

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