UNITED STATES – A Senate report that reveals the names of 400 U.S. nursing homes with records of low-quality care also indicates the federal government is not focusing on these facilities due to limited resources. The government has selected about 80 nursing homes for “Special Focus,” while around 400 other facilities qualify for increased regulatory attention.
When a nursing home in the United States has been shown to have persistent safety and health violations, state departments of health can flag it with the federal government and recommend it for the Special Focus Facility program. A new Senate report shows that about 400 nursing homes nationwide, including two on Long Island, are on the list of qualifying facilities. However, only about 80 facilities are in the program.
Facilities in the Special Focus program receive more inspections than other facilities and are subject to greater enforcement. If the facilities do not improve, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can cut them off from Medicare and Medicaid payments. The number of facilities that can participate in the program is dependent on federal resources, according to the report.
The report states that limited resources and budgetary constraints are preventing CMS from placing special focus on all qualifying facilities. Right now, the government has room for 88 Special Focus facilities but has more than 400 candidates.
Until the Senate report, the names of the facilities qualifying for the program have been kept private, so patients and family members did not know that these nursing homes had been flagged. While nursing homes do have ratings systems on the government-run website called Nursing Home Compare, patient advocates are stressing the need for more transparency to help families make the best decisions for their loved ones.
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