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Capitol Health Call
January 11, 2012

Nursing Home Antipsychotics

JAMA. 2012;307(2):134. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1930

A November 30 hearing before the Senate's Special Committee on Aging focused attention on the improper use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes.

Daniel Levinson, the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, testified before the committee that his office recently issued 2 reports that found 14% of nursing home residents (approximately 300 000 patients) had Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs; that half of these drug claims should not have been paid by the government because the drugs were not used for medically accepted indications; and that for 1 in 5 of these claims, nursing homes dispensed the drugs in a way that violated standards for their use (for example, the prescription dose was too high or residents were taking the medication for too long).

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