The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has a program called the Special Focus Facility (SFF) Initiative, whereby nursing homes that have a history of serious quality problems are on their SFF list in order to stimulate improvements in their quality of care. If the facility makes significant and sustained improvement in quality of care, it may be eligible to graduate from the list. If the facility fails to make significant improvements, it remains on the list until CMS either grants it an extension of time to improve, or terminates it from participating in Medicare and Medicaid, which generally leads to the facility shutting down due to lack of funding. Facilities that are placed on the Special Focus Facility List are generally considered to provide very poor care. There are two facilities in Tennessee that are considered Special Focus Facilities.
CMS surveyors visit nursing homes at least once per year to inspect the facility and determine if the nursing home is providing the quality of care Medicare and Medicaid require. The inspection teams identify deficiencies (violations) that the nursing home is required to correct. The SFF Initiative steps in when a nursing home has more issues than normal, has more serious issues, and has a pattern of serious and continued issues over time with no correction. Once a facility makes it onto the SFF list, it is visited twice as frequently as normal facilities by inspection teams to track the progress of correcting deficiencies.
In February of 2019, CMS published an updated list of Special Focus Facilities. Here are the facilities located in Tennessee that are on the SFF list:
Brookhaven Manor in Kingsport, TN spent 18 months on the SFF list showing no improvement until February of 2019, when it began to show improvement. This nursing home has now been on the SFF list for 23 months, and will continue to stay on the list until it proves its commitment to quality care, per CMS regulations.
Lauderdale Community Living Center in Ripley, TN has spent 13 months on the SFF list, but has shown some improvement. If the facility's improvement is sustained, they may be able to graduate from the SFF list. If its improvement stalls or declines, it will remain on the list.
So what does this mean to me?
It depends. If you or a loved one are considering one of these facilities, make sure you visit the nursing home above all and speak with staff and residents about the quality of care. It is also important to review the surveys of these facilities to be aware of what deficiencies it has. Finally, do as much research as you can before making your final decision; use this as a resource, but not your only source of information.
If you or a loved one currently resides at one of these facilities in Tennessee and has been hurt, abused, or neglected because of poor quality care, do not wait to contact the attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman. Statutes of Limitation place limits on the amount of time you may have to file a claim, and waiting could potentially bar you from receiving the justice you may deserve, so do not delay. The attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman have extensive background experience in nursing home abuse, neglect, injury, and wrongful death lawsuits and may be able to help you with a potential nursing home case.