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Feds Publish List of 54 Poorest-Performing Nursing Homes
The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says release of the list was prompted by the number of facilities that were consistently providing poor quality of care, yet were periodically instituting enough improvement that they would pass one survey only to fail the next. Such facilities with an inconsistent compliance history rarely address underlying systemic problems that trigger repeated cycles of serious deficiencies.
All nursing homes on the list were designated as a "special focus facility," a designation CMS uses for nursing homes that are among the poorest five or 10 percent in each state and require inspections every six months. There were 128 such facilities out of about 16,000 active nursing homes in October 2007, according to CMS. The 54 listed nursing homes are the worst of these poorest performers. Nursing homes that receive federal funding are inspected about once per year by regulators who assess criteria such as whether a facility is administering proper medications to residents, helping residents with activities of daily living like bathing, and taking necessary steps to avoid accidents and infections.
"Nearly three million Americans, most of who are enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid, depend on the nation's 16,000 nursing homes at some point during each year to provide life-saving care," said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems. "Release of this national list of special focus facilities reinforces CMS' commitment to provide beneficiaries and their families the information they need when making long-term care choices."¬
Typically, homes that get the special focus designation do show improvement. Federal data indicate that about half the special focus homes improve their quality of care significantly within 24 to 30 months.
Following release of the list, CMS has been criticized for failing to release the names of all 128 special focus facilities to the public, while giving the names to the nursing home industry. For an article by the Center for Medicare Advocacy on this controversy, click here.
For a Senior Journal article about the list, click here.