On The Front Porch series about Long Term Care

Let's talk: You'd like to know who watches over health care in Missouri?

Who is responsible, and what if I have a complaint?
This is a family-to-family discussion in the "On The Front Porch... Let's talk" series about being a caregiver.

Day-to-day regulating of health care facilities and services is pretty much the responsibility of one department in the Missouri government, and that is the Department of Health and Senior Services. Home and outpatient services are served under a separate bureau within the department.

Nursing Homes and long term care facilites, including state licensed residential care and assisted living

The department inspects each facility to ensure residents are receiving the proper care.

Inspectors make an unannounced visit to evaluate resident quality of care and quality of life, environmental services, dietary services, and fire safety. The inspection process involves observations; interviews with residents, residents' family members and facility staff; and record review of documentation. There is a department web page about inspections at Missouri Nursing Homes Inspections.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses with the department to make certification surveys in federally licensed facilities.

Filing a Complaint

Missouri's Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline responds to reports of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. If you suspect someone is being abused, neglected or exploited, call the hotline at 800-392-0210. The hotline operates 365 days per year from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hearing-impaired persons may call the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), at 800-669-8819 or 800-676-3777 to utilize Relay Missouri.

Home health agencies and hospice programs

The Bureau of Home Care and Rehabilitative Standards, which is a specialized unit in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, watches over home and outpatient services. These include home health agencies, hospices, outpatient rehab facilities and providers of outpatient physical therapy or outpatient speech pathology.

They are responsible to see that the quality of care meets standards set by Missouri regulations. In addition, they verify that these agencies meet federal Medicare standards if they are Medicare certified services. To do this, they perform on-site inspections, and may also verify staff credentials and training, visit patients, and check safety procedures.

Filing a complaint with the bureau.

There is a Bureau of Home Care and Rehabilitative Standards complaint hotline at 800-392-0210. The bureau's phone number for general contact is 573-751-6336. They can be reached by email at info@health.mo.gov.

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