GAO Report: Disposal of Controlled Substances in Home Hospice Settings

When hospice patients die at home, they often leave behind commonly misused controlled substances, such as oxycodone. A 2018 law allows employees of qualified hospice programs to collect and destroy these drugs. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) describes selected home hospices’ disposal practices and the challenges they face.

Hospice representatives identified best practices such as having a disposal witness and using lock boxes to limit drug access. Challenges include the cost of certain disposal methods, a lack of required disposal witnesses, and inconsistencies between state and federal laws over which hospice employees may dispose of controlled substances.

It is important to maintain best practices and keep a watchful eye on your staff, even though the coronavirus pandemic may be hogging your attention. Whenever GAO investigates a compliance issue, you can count on increased scrutiny coming soon.

Click here to read the highlights from GAO’s study.

Click here to access the full report.