CMS Publishes The List of Worst Nursing Homes

Armen Hareyan's picture
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U.S. Worst Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released the first ranking of the nation's poor-performing nursing homes (in other word the worst nursing homes in USA).

Release of the national list of facilities, identified as special focus facilities (SFFs), is expected to offer individuals, seeking long-term health care services, and their families powerful new information when choosing nursing homes.

"Nearly three million Americans, most of who are enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid, depend on the nation's 16,000 nursing homes at some point during each year to provide life-saving care," said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems. "Release of this national list of special focus facilities reinforces CMS' commitment to provide beneficiaries and their families the information they need when making long-term care choices."

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Release of the list of worst nursing homes was prompted by the number of facilities that were consistently providing poor quality of care, yet were periodically instituting enough improvement that they would pass one survey only to fail the next (for many of the same problems as before). Such facilities with a "yo-yo" compliance history rarely addressed underlying systemic problems that were giving rise to repeated cycles of serious deficiencies.

Once a facility is selected as an SFF, the state survey agency conducts 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. CMS and the state can more quickly terminate a facility that is placing residents in immediate jeopardy.

The CMS policy of progressive enforcement means that any nursing home, not just those identified as an SFF, that reveals a pattern of persistent poor quality is subject to increasingly stringent enforcement action. If problems continue, the severity of penalties will increase over time, ranging from civil monetary penalties, denial of payment for new admissions and, ultimately, removal from Medicare and/or Medicaid.

As of October 2007, there were 128 SFFs, out of about 16,000 active nursing homes. The number of SFFs in each state varies according to the number of nursing homes in the state. These nursing homes, at the time of their selection as an SFF, had survey results that were among the poorest five or 10 percent in each state.

Today's list of worst nursing homes

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