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Department of Health & Human Services OIG

COVID-19 Tests Drove an Increase in Total Medicare Part B Spending on Lab Tests in 2020, While Use of Non-COVID-19 Tests Decreased Significantly

Medicare Part B spent $1.5 billion on COVID-19 tests in 2020, while at the same time, spending on non-COVID-19 tests declined by $1.2 billion. The result was a net spending increase of 4 percent, but the decrease in utilization of non-COVID-19 tests raises questions about the potential impacts on beneficiary health.

Department of Health & Human Services OIG

Changes Made to States' Medicaid Programs To Ensure Beneficiary Access to Prescriptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was a national emergency. That same day, in accordance with section 1135(b) of the Social Security Act (the Act), the Secretary of HHS invoked his authority to waive or modify certain requirements of Titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Act. To limit the spread of the virus, Federal, State and local governments urged individuals to stay at home and for individuals who test positive to quarantine, among other preventive measures. As a result, the usual and customary ways that many individuals obtained...

Environmental Protection Agency OIG

Pandemic Highlights Need for Additional Tribal Drinking Water Assistance and Oversight in EPA Regions 9 and 10

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Department of Health & Human Services OIG

Six of Eight Home Health Agency Providers Had Infection Control Policies and Procedures That Complied With CMS Requirements and Followed CMS COVID-19 Guidance To Safeguard Medicare Beneficiaries, Caregivers, and Staff During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health services may be at a high risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. Home health agencies (HHAs) must comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS's) infection prevention and control requirements and follow CMS guidance by having policies and procedures to protect HHA staff, Medicare beneficiaries, and caregivers during the pandemic. Our objective was to determine whether eight selected HHAs had infection control policies and procedures that complied with CMS requirements and followed CMS guidance to safeguard HHA staff...

Department of Health & Human Services OIG

States’ Backlogs of Standard Surveys of Nursing Homes Grew Substantially During the COVID-19 Pandemic

States’ backlogs of standard nursing home surveys have grown substantially, even after August 2020 when CMS lifted its suspension of those surveys (which it had suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Nationally, 71 percent of nursing homes had gone at least 16 months without a standard survey as of May 31, 2021. The rising backlogs add urgency to our existing recommendation that CMS clarify expectations and provide guidance to States on completing these important surveys.

Department of Health & Human Services OIG

COVID-19 Had a Devastating Impact on Medicare Beneficiaries in Nursing Homes During 2020

Determine how many Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes were affected by COVID-19 in 2020. Understand beneficiaries' characteristics that are associated with greater risk of contracting the virus.