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How to Choose a Nursing Home: Special Focus Facility List

How to Choose a Nursing Home: The Special Focus Facility List

In order to receive payment from Medicare and Medicaid, nursing homes are required to comply with the requirements in 42 C.F.R. § 483, Subpart B. State inspectors determine whether nursing facilities are in compliance by conducting unannounced surveys. States’ certifications of nursing homes are subject to CMS approval. As a part of the certification process, states can recommend enforcement actions to the applicable state Medicaid agency and the regional Medicare office.

When the inspectors identify deficiencies, federal regulations require that the problems be corrected. If serious problems are not corrected, CMS has the authority to terminate the nursing home’s participation in Medicare and Medicaid. For the vast majority of nursing homes across the country, termination of such funding effectively closes the facility because most nursing home patients can only afford to pay using Medicare or Medicaid.

According to CMS, most nursing homes have 6-7 deficiencies per survey. However, some nursing homes demonstrate a pattern of having an excessive number of deficiencies and deficiencies that may cause serious injury. Such facilities are placed onto the Special Focus Facility List (SFF). The consequence of being placed on the SFF is that state survey teams will visit the facility twice as frequently as other nursing homes (about twice per year). The facilities may be subject to monetary fines or termination from Medicare and Medicaid.

CMS recently published the SFF for December, 2015, which you can read here.  CMS recommends that you take this list into consideration before you select a nursing home for your family member.

If your family member has been neglected or injured in a nursing home, contact Peter T. Anderson of the Grenier Law Group at 202-768-9609 or panderson@grenierlawgroup.com. 



1 Comment

  1. Jen Pack
    July 29, 2016

    My siblings and I have decided that it is time for us to get our mom into a nursing home, so I really appreciate this information on how to choose the right one. I like how you point out the importance of making sure that potential nursing homes have the correct certifications and legal requirements to assure the safety of my mom. I imagine that it would also be a good idea to check local reviews to make sure that others have been happy with the services. Thanks for sharing this information! http://www.reginanursingcenter.org/services/long-term-care/

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