What Is a Special Focus Facility?

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Nov 14, 2017 in Nursing Home Abuse

bruised arms of elderly woman in hospitalNursing home facilities are regularly evaluated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). When facilities perform poorly, they are closely watched by CMS. Those facilities that receive the worst evaluations and provide the poorest care to their residents are considered Special Focus Facilities. These facilities receive special attention from regulators and must show improvement in their quality of care or they will lose their Medicare and Medicaid funding. You should know what nursing homes are considered to be the worst of the worst. 

If your loved has been harmed because of poor care in a nursing home, especially if he or she is in a Special Focus Facility, you should not hesitate to contact a trusted Milwaukee nursing home abuse attorney. We hold nursing home’s accountable. We will help protect your loved one’s rights and help you fight for the justice and compensation your loved one deserves. 

The Special Focus Facility Initiative

Each year, the CMS conducts surveys and other evaluations of nursing home facilities to ensure they are providing the level of care Medicare and Medicaid requires. Each inspection identifies problems with quality of care, staffing and safety that require improvement. If the problems are not fixed, the facility could lose its federal funding.

While all nursing homes may suffer from some deficiencies, some experience recurring underlying problems that appear across several surveys. To combat this, the Special Focus Facility Initiative was created to deal with nursing homes that have:

  • About twice as many deficiencies as other nursing homes
  • More serious problems, including more injuries to residents than other nursing homes
  • A pattern of serious problems that has lasted over time

How it Works

Instead of receiving one regularly scheduled visit per year by survey teams, Special Focus Facilities receive in-person surveys twice as often. If problems continue, CMS will fine the facility or take other enforcement actions.

Usually, one of the following three things will happen to a facility within 18 to 24 months of it being added to the Special Focus Facility list:

  • Improvement and graduation – The nursing home may graduate from the program once it has shown significant improvement over time.
  • Termination from Medicare and Medicaid – Nursing homes that continue to remain non-compliant with federal regulations may lose their Medicare and Medicaid funding, often resulting in a closure of the nursing home.
  • Extension of time – CMS representatives may provide the facility with additional time to correct its infractions if the nursing home has demonstrated progress in a significant way.

CMS reports that about half of the nursing homes that are placed in the Special Focus Facility category significantly improve their quality of care within 24 to 30 months after being placed in this category. However, about 16 percent of the facilities wind up having their Medicare and Medicaid funding terminated.

Nursing Homes in the Program

Each month, CMS provides an updated list of the nursing homes that are considered Special Focus Facilities. Some of the nursing facilities that are currently or have been in the initiative include:

  • Casa Real – Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this facility is a new addition to the list and has not had a standard survey yet.
  • Glen Haven Home – This facility is located in Glenwood, Iowa, and is considered not improved after failing to show significant improvement despite having the opportunity to do so and after being named as a Special Focus Facility.
  • Regency Care Center – This improving facility is located in Norwalk, Iowa. The facility has shown significant improvement since its most recent survey.
  • Beloit Health and Rehab – Located in Beloit, Wisconsin, this facility has recently graduated, meaning it has sustained significant improvement for about a year as demonstrated through two standard surveys. 
  • CHI Franciscan Villa – Located in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this facility has also been listed as a recent graduate. 
  • The Bridges of Appleton – This Appleton, Wisconsin, Special Focus Facility is no longer receiving funding from Medicare and Medicaid.

How to Use This Information

If you have a loved one staying at one of these nursing homes, or you are thinking of sending your loved one to one of these facilities, there are several things you may want to do to help ensure their safety and well-being:

  • Potential nursing home residents and loved ones should visit the facility before applying for residence. This gives you a chance to talk to current residents and their families and ask about problems.
  • Ask to review the results from the most recent CMS or state survey.
  • Review previous surveys and identify recurring problems.
  • Determine how long the facility has been on the list.
  • Ask staff what steps they are taking to improve quality of care.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

While many nursing homes provide quality care to residents, others neglect or outright abuse the elderly. It is important for loved ones to advocate for vulnerable elders because they are often unable to do so themselves.

When a nursing home is already on the Special Focus Facility list, there is a documented history of non-compliance with federal regulations. A nursing home abuse attorney can investigate nursing home abuse claims and use the home's history of problems as proof that management knew about these issues and failed to take necessary corrective action.

We can discuss the legal options that may be available for your loved one during a free, no-obligation initial consultation. We charge on contingency, so you only pay attorneys’ fees if you receive compensation on your claim.

Call 877-877-2228 to get started today.

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