The Sacramento Bee wrote an incredible series of articles about the edpidemic of false and fraudulent charting in nursing homes. The practice of nursing homes altering patients’ medical records masks serious conditions and covers up care not given. A Bee review of nearly 150 cases of alleged chart falsification in California reveals how the practice puts patients at risk and sometimes leads to death. We see it in every case. Care documented that was clearly not given even notes when the residents was not in the facility. Excerpts of the recent editorial are below:
Nursing homes make record- keeping mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are innocent. Sometimes, as The Bee’s Marjie Lundstrom has demonstrated in her investigative report on bogus nursing home record-keeping, they are deliberate – a pattern of deception intended to lull family members into believing that their loved ones are receiving appropriate care and to protect corporate nursing homes from lawsuits when a patient is seriously injured or killed.
That overworked and understaffed nursing home personnel might fail to document all of their actions is understandable but also dangerous. Of course, when they falsify their actions, it’s criminal.
The cases described in The Bee series show that sloppy and false record-keeping can be deadly. In some of the cases reviewed, those who signed medical reports did not exist or were not working the days they claimed to have performed the services. In other cases, nursing home workers say they were ordered to alter records. Detection and prevention is not always easy.