What We're Reading: Medicaid Caretaker Fraud Leaves Patients Suffering

What we’re reading, November 7, 2016: caretaker fraud within Medicaid’s Personal Care Services program left patients neglected and abused; a proposal to increase shift limits for first-year residents from 16 to 28 hours draws both support and criticism; CDC has identified 13 locally-acquired cases of antibiotic-resistant Candida auris in the US.

An investigation into fraud within Medicaid’s Personal Care Services program has found disturbing incidences of abuse and neglect, according to the Office of Inspector General at HHS. The investigation found over 200 cases of fraud committed since 2012 by the untrained caretakers who are paid through the program. In the worst cases, elderly patients were found severely neglected or even dead after their caretakers failed to visit.

A proposal by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to increase first-year residents’ shift limits from 16 to 28 hours has drawn mixed reactions. Supporters agree that residents should be allowed to stay longer and care for a single patient after signing out the care of their other patients. However, groups like Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and the Committee of Interns and Residents worry that the increased hours will contribute to resident burnout and errors caused by sleep deprivation.

The CDC has discovered 13 cases of the antibiotic-resistant fungus Candida auris in the US. Out of the first 7 cases, 5 were not correctly identified as the C. auris superbug at the time the patients were hospitalized, and 4 patients died. In June, the CDC cautioned hospitals to watch for imported cases of the fungus, but genomic analysis of these 13 cases found that they were acquired locally.