CMS List of Current Problematic Facilities Indispensable in Choosing a Nursing Home:

By referencing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services webpage for Special Focus Facilities (SFF) and candidates, prospective nursing home residents and their loved ones can gain vital information toward choosing a nursing home. The SFF list is a public disclosure of those U.S. nursing homes that have demonstrated a higher-than-average number of deficiencies, including severe problems such as serious nursing home injuries and the advancement of bed sores to critical stages. Candidates for the SFF program must have at least a three-year documented history of severe quality issues. According to the webpage, the number of candidate facilities is based on five candidates per SFF slot, with a minimum per-state candidate pool of five and a maximum of 30.

The Special Focus Facilities program, overseen by CMS, seeks to motivate deficient nursing homes to improve their quality of care. The CMS list of current problematic facilities has nursing homes that have been selected by their state as an SFF undergo full, onsite inspections every six months and are subject to such enforcement measures as fines or denial of Medicare payment until sufficient improvement has been made to graduate the homes from the SFF program. A home also can be removed from the SFF list if it has been terminated from Medicare and/or Medicaid.

People considering admission to a nursing home who are concerned about nursing home injuries and advanced bed sore stages can use CMS’s webpage as another tool of discernment in choosing a nursing home. The SFF list specifies the most recent iteration of the program’s full spectrum, from those homes potentially entering the program, to how current SFFs are performing within the program, to those homes exiting the program.

The breakdown of the list is as follows:

  • New Additions: Nursing homes newly added as a SFF.
  • Not Improved: SFFs that have failed to show significant improvement after at least one inspection after being named as a SFF nursing home.
  • Improving: SFFs that, following the most recent inspection, showed no serious deficiencies or systemic potential for harm (e.g. nursing home injuries or advanced stages of bed sores).
  • Recently Graduated: Nursing homes that demonstrated such sustained significant improvement over the period of about a year to be removed from the SFF list.
  • No Longer in Medicare and Medicaid: Nursing homes that withdrew from or were terminated by CMS from participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
  • SFF Candidate list: Current nursing homes that qualify for selection to the program.

In addition to potential nursing home residents actively choosing a nursing home, current nursing home residents and their families who may be worried their facility ranks high for poor quality of care can also benefit from reviewing the SFF list. If residents discover their facility is included in the SFF program, they or their family members should contact the nursing home administrator to share their concerns about such problems as nursing home injuries. In a meeting with the administrator, they can learn what active steps are being taken toward improvement and request ongoing updates.

In light of potential information delays from state survey agencies that may impact the accuracy of the webpage, CMS recommends that interpretation of the current SFF list be supplemented by visiting the Nursing Home Compare website or by information gathered by the state ombudsman’s office, the state survey agency, the Administration on Aging, or other sources.

Providing Help in Choosing a Nursing Home

Determining which Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home is the right one for your loved one can be fraught with challenges. If you are in need of legal assistance in choosing a nursing home in Philadelphia/PA or NJ, or if your loved one has experienced nursing home injuries or nursing home neglect, please contact nursing home abuse attorney  Brian P. Murphy.