A Much-Needed Resource
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) publish a monthly list of nursing homes across the nation with patterns of serious problems. The Special Focus Facility (SFF) list is broken down into five categories:
- New additions
- Not improved
- Recently graduated
- No longer on Medicare and Medicaid
In a nutshell, a facility has to have serious issues in order to show up on the list. If it shows improvement over time, then it can “graduate” and be removed from the program. However, if conditions get so bad that a facility falls in the “no longer on Medicare and Medicaid” category, that means it will no longer receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid. As a result, that facility will likely close and its residents will be moved to other facilities.
Thankfully, there was only one Arkansas nursing home on the latest SFF list, which was released on February 18. St. Michael’s Place in Newport, AR showed up in the “improving” category. While that means the facility has shown substantial improvement since first appearing on the SFF list, it also means it has a lot of work to do before it can graduate from the program.
Nursing Home Screening Tips
Whether your loved one needs short-term or long-term care, you really need to do your homework before trusting his or her care to a nursing home facility. Follow these steps and you will be much more likely to make the right choice.
- Get the latest CMS or state survey reports for the facilities you are considering.
- Visit each facility to get a feel for how staff members treat residents.
- If you see that a facility you are considering is on the SFF list, find out how long it has been on it. This is especially critical if it has been on the list for 18-24 months. If that’s the case, then that nursing home is looking at one of two scenarios – either it will probably graduate from the list fairly soon, or things have gotten so bad that it will find itself in the “no longer on Medicare and Medicaid” category.