Poorly-performing and dangerous nursing homes are a concern to all. We want to make sure that our loved ones are placed in nursing homes that will care for their specific needs, and that will treat them with respect and dignity.
Unfortunately, there are countless nursing homes that fail in both of these areas. Nursing homes may not properly assess the needs of residents, or they may fail to implement an appropriate care plan. Tragically, they may allow conditions to exist that present an immediate danger to the health of residents, resulting in significant injury and death.
In order to establish high standards of care, the U.S. congress has created regulations requiring periodic nursing home inspections, and fines and penalties for those facilities receiving citations from inspections. Further, under regulations enacted by Congress, nursing homes that repeatedly fail inspections and that are issued numerous citations may be included in what is known as the “Special Focus Facility” program.
The Special Focus Facility Program and Special Focus Facility Candidates
Under the Special Focus Facility program, nursing homes added to the program are subjected to increasing inspections, potentially higher fines, and the possibility of losing federal reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. Because most nursing homes depend upon government reimbursement through Medicare and Medicaid, the potential removal from such reimbursement can cause many facilities to close.
The Special Focus Facility program, however, has limited funding. As a result, only 80 or so troubled nursing home facilities are included in the program at any one time, even though approximately 400 additional facilities likely qualify for the program based upon poor performance.
These additional facilities are referred to as “Special Focus Facility Candidates”. Special Focus Facility Candidates are added to the Special Focus Facility program when there is space available (usually as the result of a Special Focus Facility nursing home either closing or improving its performance so that it can be removed from the Special Focus Facility program).
While the list of Special Focus Facility nursing homes has long been made publicly available, the list of the 400 or so Special Focus Facility Candidates has been kept secret and not publicly disclosed. As a result, families and those looking for a nursing home for a loved one were not able to tell whether a nursing home that they may be considering is a Special Focus Facility Candidate.
New Senate Report Details the List of Special Focus Facility Candidates
It is troubling that the federal government has a list of hundreds of poorly-performing nursing homes that is not being disclosed. Based upon this concern, Pennsylvania Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey made a request in April, 2019, to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) for the names of the Special Focus Facility Candidates, with the intention that the names of these facilities also be made public.
CMS agreed that the list of Special Focus Facility Candidates should be publicly disclosed and provided the names of such facilities to the senators. Subsequently, in June, 2019, Senators Casey and Toomey authored the report Families’ and Residents’ Right to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes in which both the Special Focus Facility program nursing homes and the Special Focus Facility Candidates were disclosed.
What New York Nursing Homes Have Been Included in the Special Focus Facility Program or Named as Special Focus Facility Candidates?
According to the CMS, the following New York nursing homes and facilities were included in the Special Focus Facility program (“SFF”) or named as a Special Focus Facility Candidate (“SFF Candidate”) in the latest list as of May 14, 2019:
|Name of Facility||Special Facility Program (“SFF”) facility or Special Focus Facility Candidate (“SFF Candidate”)|
|CAYUGA RIDGE EXTENDED CARE||SFF Candidate|
|ELLICOTT CENTER FOR REHABILITATION AND NURSING||SFF Candidate|
|NEW ROC NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER||SFF Candidate|
|BETHLEHEM COMMONS CARE CENTER||SFF Candidate|
|BUFFALO COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE CENTER||SFF Candidate|
|THE KNOLLS||SFF Candidate|
|EMERALD SOUTH NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER||SFF Candidate|
|TOWNHOUSE CENTER FOR REHABILITATION & NURSING||SFF Candidate|
|SARATOGA CENTER FOR REHAB & SKILLED NURSING CARE||SFF Candidate|
|DIAMOND HILL NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER||SFF Candidate|
|ONONDAGA CENTER FOR REHABILITATION AND NURSING||SFF Candidate|
|BISHOP REHABILITATION AND NURSING CENTER||SFF Candidate|
|SAFIRE REHABILITATION OF SOUTHTOWN, L.L.C||SFF Candidate|
|COOPERSTOWN CENTER FOR REHABILITATION AND NURSING||SFF Candidate|
|THE PINES HEALTHCARE & REHAB CENTERS OLEAN CAMPUS||SFF Candidate|
|UTICA REHABILITATION & NURSING CENTER||SFF|
|MEDFORD MULTICARE CENTER FOR LIVING||SFF|
Understanding the Inspection Protocols Governing Nursing Homes
Under The Nursing Home Act established by Congress in 1987, inspection and compliance requirements were created in order to ensure that nursing homes met certain operational standards, and for nursing homes to receive federal reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid. These requirements mandate detailed nursing home inspections on a periodic basis (usually every 1-2 years), with a focus on matters that may pose a risk of harm to nursing home residents.
When an inspection occurs, nursing homes are rated on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the highest) on various criteria. Nursing Homes are additionally awarded an overall rating. If a nursing home does not meet certain requirements or otherwise fails an inspection in some respect, they also can be given a citation and assessed a fine or penalty.
The Nursing Home Compare Website
Comprehensive information about these inspections and ratings, as well as detailed information about citations and fines, can be seen on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website. In addition to the information about a nursing home, the Nursing Home Compare website can be used to compare selected nursing homes by those who may be seeking information about the best home for their loved one. Because the inspections and the information presented on this site are done in a uniform basis, this site is an excellent place for an “apples-to-apples” comparison for various homes that may be under consideration.
How We Can Help
If a loved one has been injured through abuse, neglect, or negligence, please call our firm to learn how we can help. We provide a free consultation so that we can advise you if we believe that you have a case, as well as your options for seeking justice and compensation.