Residents Provided Poor Care in Many Nursing Homes Despite More Oversight
A New York Times investigation into federally funded nursing homes found that facilities with frequent violations labeled “special focus facilities” consistently provided poor care to residents after being released from increased oversight.
PKSD’s dependable Milwaukee nursing home abuse attorneys are dedicated to ensuring nursing home residents receive the exceptional care they need to preserve their health and safety.
We will fight to hold substandard nursing homes responsible for any acts of abuse or neglect committed toward residents.
Special Focus Facilities
Nursing homes in 46 states have been labeled as special focus facilities by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), which is the agency’s harshest designation for substandard nursing homes. It is reserved for nursing homes with the lowest performance out of more than 15,000 skilled nursing homes.
This designation places extra scrutiny on the home and requires that the facility fix its system of administering residential care and treatment or it will lose its federal Medicare and Medicaid funding, which few facilities can afford.
To determine which nursing homes receive special focus status, the CMS assigns each state a set number of slots based on the number of nursing homes located within the state.
State regulators charged with monitoring nursing homes are tasked with choosing which facilities will receive special focus.
However, in 2017, state regulators identified 435 nursing homes for special focus consideration, but only 88 facilities received this status because of a severely limited budget of $2.6 million.
Since 2005, more than 900 nursing homes have been labeled as special focus facilities. However, due to federal budget cuts, the number of facilities on the list at any given time has been reduced by nearly 50 percent since 2012.
Special Focus Facilities Continue to Provide Dangerous Care
Once regulators determine the level of care provided by a special focus facility has improved, the nursing home is removed from the list.
However, more than a third of operating nursing homes that graduated from special focus status still hold a one-star rating, the lowest possible Medicare rating out of five stars, according to federal health inspection data.
An analysis of the data found that nursing homes placed under special focus status often returned to providing residents with dangerous and negligent care after leaving strict federal scrutiny.
The data showed that of the 528 nursing homes removed from the CMS’s list of special focus facilities before 2014, residents in 52 percent of the facilities still operating were harmed or received dangerous care within the past three years.
These facilities were reported for committing violations such as:
- Giving patients the wrong medications
- Failing to protect residents from abusive staff members or other residents
- Neglecting to inform families or physicians about residents’ injuries
A common trait consistent in most of the lowest-rated nursing homes is the lack of registered nurses present to administer adequate care to residents.
Without an adequate nurse-to-patient staffing ratio, resident care often falls to dangerously low levels and residents are exposed to an increased risk for untreated injuries, infections and diseases.
Even more concerning is that special oversight was lifted from for approximately one-fourth of these nursing homes after less than one year. These nursing homes were required to pass only two consecutive inspections without major violations or substantiated complaints.
Despite this, the CMS continues to defend the special focus program, claiming nursing homes placed on the list improved more so than under-performing facilities not placed under special focus.
Contact Our Milwaukee Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Nursing homes are trusted with the care of our elderly loved ones, who are often vulnerable and often unable to speak up for themselves when abuse or neglect occurs.
For this reason, PKSD’s Milwaukee personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of nursing home abuse and their families hold facilities and caregivers accountable for abuse committed against a resident.
Contact our attorneys for a free consultation if you suspect your loved one has been abused or received poor treatment. We will provide you a free, no obligation consultation to review your claim and determine if you have a legal case.
Our attorneys work only on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay us after we fairly represent your claim and bring your loved one the justice he or she deserves.