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Nursing Homes in North Carolina: Special Focus Facilities

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North Carolina has two facilities that have been designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as Special Focus Facilities (SFF). CMS started the SFF Initiative as a way to stimulate sustainable improvement in some of the country's worst nursing homes. Each nursing home undergoes periodic inspections throughout the year in order to ensure that residents are being cared for properly and are safe from harm. When a facility has deficiencies, they must come up with a "plan of improvement" to immediately address these issues. Some nursing facilities, however, institute just enough improvement that they are in compliance on one survey. Soon after, though, significant problems would resurface. These types of facilities had a reputation for having a "yo-yo" compliance history, according to CMS, and would rarely actually address the underlying systemic issues that caused these serious deficiencies. Thus, the CMS Special Focus Facility Initiative was created to address those problems.

When a nursing home is designated as an SFF, it is visited twice as often by inspection teams as other nursing homes. If they do not address their serious deficiencies properly and sustainably, they may eventually be terminated from participating in Medicare and Medicaid. This often leads to being shut down due to a lack of funding. If a facility shows real improvement that continues over time, it may be able to graduate from the list. Sadly, only about 50% of nursing homes significantly improve their care within 24 to 30 months of being in the SFF program.

In North Carolina, two facilities have remained in the SFF program for quite a while now, despite showing some improvement. Richmond Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Hamlet, NC has been a Special Focus Facility for almost a full year. It was ranked as the worst nursing home in NC due to very serious deficiencies, such as failing to monitor a known "wanderer" with a history of inappropriate sexual behavior, which resulted in a sexual assault of an incapacitated resident. Other deficiencies include failing to prevent and treat pressure sores, failing to change a soiled resident, and failing to implement fall risk interventions which resulted in multiple injuries to multiple residents. Overmedication was present as well, along with other resident-on-resident abuse. Overall, it has been rated as a one-star facility, which is considered "much below average." That rating means that the facility has serious issues that can endanger residents, evident from the inspection and complaint reports. See the most recent inspection results here, and the results of the most recent complaint inspection here. While it has shown improvement while on the SFF list, it remains in the program until it can prove sustained higher quality of care.

Macon Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Franklin, NC is a new addition to the program, having only been on the SFF list for 4 months. In that time, it has already shown improvement. It has been rated as a two-star facility, which is considered "below average" by CMS. Recent inspection and complaint reports are available to review on CMS' website.

North Carolina also has two facilities that have recently graduated from the SFF program. Kingswood Nursing Center in Aberdeen, NC spent 14 months on the SFF list before graduating October 2018 because of sustained improvements in their quality of care. It is still rated as a two-star facility, though, which is below average quality. Despite its graduation from a Special Focus Facility, Kingswood Nursing Center may still have serious deficiencies that affect residents, so it is important to remain vigilant as a resident or a loved one of a resident to ensure proper care.

Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Indian Trail, NC spent over 31 months on the SFF list before recently graduating in February 2019. They have shown promising improvement in order to graduate, but may still have serious deficiencies. It is also still rated as a two-star facility, so again one should remain vigilant and advocate for proper care if you or a loved one are a resident at this facility.

If you or a loved one currently resides in a Special Focus Facility, know that the nursing home is being monitored closely by CMS in order to stimulate improvement. However, nursing home abuse and neglect still happens regardless, so do not wait to reach out to our attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman if you or a loved one have been hurt at any nursing home or assisted living facility. Delay can potentially bar you from seeking the justice you deserve. 

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