ABC Action News
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which offers a Nursing Home Compare tool for rating long-term care facilities online, has a program for particularly poor-performing homes dubbed Special Focus Facilities. These nursing homes have a documented pattern of poor care and a history of serious quality issues. As a result, they are subject to more frequent inspections (twice a year rather than annually), fines, and possible termination from Medicare and Medicaid.
Such facilities are typically identified on the Nursing Home Compare website, but Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey learned there are 400 additional nursing homes in the United States that fall into the SFF category but that are not publicly identified. They asked CMS to make the data available to the public, and when the agency refused, the pair released the information themselves.
Pennsylvania has 20 nursing homes on the list, along with 17 in Florida, six in Kentucky and five in Arizona. Tampa Bay’s ABC Action News interviewed W&M attorney Bennie Lazzara Jr. about the leaked list.
“There shouldn’t be any secrets in this area. Talk about transparency, this is an area where transparency is essential,” Lazzara told reporter Adam Walser.
“It’s all taxpayer dollars that these nursing homes are running under, primarily Medicare and Medicaid money is what keeps these nursing homes going. So there ought to be enough taxpayer dollars to properly monitor them and regulate them,” Lazzara said.
Check out Bennie’s interview with ABC Action News here.
The attached list from CMS explains the SFF program in more detail, and includes the complete 2019 list of SFF nursing homes across the country.