The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has a program called the Special Focus Facility (SFF) Initiative, whereby nursing homes that have history of serious quality problems are on their SFF list in order to stimulate improvements in their quality of care. If the facility makes significant and sustained improvement in quality of care, they may be eligible to graduate from the list. If they fail to make significant improvements, they remain on the list until CMS either grants them an extension of time to improve, or terminates them from participating in Medicare and Medicaid, which generally leads to the facility shutting down due to lack of funding.
CMS surveyors visit nursing homes at least once per year to inspect the facility and determine if the nursing home is providing the quality of care that Medicare and Medicaid require. The inspection teams identify deficiencies that the nursing home is required to correct. Deficiencies may be for pressure ulcers (bed sores), dehydration, malnutrition and weight loss, infections, giving too much medication, or the wrong medication. Deficiencies like these can lead to serious injury and even death.
However, most nursing homes also correct their deficiencies within a reasonable period of time. The SFF Initiative steps in when a nursing home has more issues than normal, has more serious issues, and has a pattern of serious and continued issues over time with no correction. Once a facility makes it onto the SFF list, it is visited twice as frequently as normal facilities by inspection teams to track the progress of correcting deficiencies.
In February of 2019, CMS published an updated list of Special Focus Facilities. Kentucky only has one nursing home on the SFF list:
Twin Rivers Nursing and Rehab Center in Owensboro, KY has been on the SFF list for over 19 months now and has apparently shown no improvement. If this facility continues to show no improvement in quality of care, it is in danger of losing its Medicare and Medicaid funding.
So what does this mean to me?
It depends. If you or a loved one are considering one of these facilities, make sure you visit the nursing home above all and speak with staff and residents about quality of care. It is also important to review the surveys of these facilities to be aware of what deficiencies it has. Finally, do as much research as you can before making your final decision; use this as a resource, but not your only source of information.
If you or a loved one reside at a facility in Kentucky and have been hurt, abused, or neglected because of poor quality care, do not wait to contact the attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman. Statutes of limitation, or deadlines on filing a lawsuit, place limits on the amount of time you may have to file a claim, and waiting could potentially bar you from receiving the justice you may deserve. The attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse, neglect, and injury lawsuits and may be able to help you and your family begin to heal from the suffering caused at the hands of one of these facilities.