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Information on Substandard Nursing Homes

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Takes Step to Improve Quality in Nation’s Nursing Homes.

It is still a sad fact, that many individuals in need of long term care following a traumatic brain injury find that they must obtain these services within the confines of a nursing home rather than at home under a TBI waiver program. 

The care in many nursing homes is substandard, yet how does the public know about these substandard nursing homes?  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made public more names of under performing nursing homes across the country.

On November 29, 2007, the agency began publishing the names of Special Focus Facility (SFF) nursing homes that had failed to improve significantly after being given the opportunity to do so.

Once a facility is selected as an SFF, State survey agencies are responsible for conducting twice the number of standard surveys and will apply progressive enforcement until the nursing home either (a) significantly improves and is no longer identified as an SFF, (b) is granted additional time due to promising developments, or (c) is terminated from Medicare and/or Medicaid.

The complete list of substandard nursing homes is available by clicking here. This list will provide consumers with information needed to make a distinction between nursing homes that are improving and those that are not.

This updated and expanded list identifies facilities by the category they fall within, such as:
- New Additions: nursing homes added within approximately the past six months;
- Not Improved: nursing homes that have failed to improve significantly in at least one survey after being named as a SFF nursing home;
- Improving: nursing homes that have significantly improved on the most recent survey, including no findings of harm to any resident and no systemic potential for harm;
- Recently Graduated: nursing homes that have sustained significant improvement for about 12 months, indicating an upward trend in quality improvement compared to the nursing home’s prior history of care; and those
- No Longer in Medicare and Medicaid: nursing homes that were either terminated by CMS from participation in Medicare within the past few months, or voluntarily chose not to continue participation.

The SFF initiative was created by CMS in 1998 in response to the number of facilities that were consistently providing poor quality of care.  Those facilities were periodically instituting enough improvement so that they would pass one survey, only to fail the next (for many of the same problems as before).  Facilities with this compliance history rarely addressed underlying systemic problems that were giving rise to repeated cycles of serious deficiencies.

Serious deficiencies include such things as failing to give residents their medications in the correct dose at the correct time, taking steps to prevent abuse or neglect, inappropriate use of restraints and failure to prevent or properly treat bed sores.

There are currently about 131 active facilities identified as an SFF.  This number varies over time as nursing homes are graduating or leaving Medicare and Medicaid and new nursing homes are in the process of being added to the SFF list.

More on the SFF initiative can be found on the CMS Web site

At the law firm of De Caro & Kaplen, LLP, we can assist victims of nursing home abuse.  You can visit our site to obtain more information about legal services available following nursing home abuse.

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