Special Focus Facility

The KSHB 41 I-Team learned about the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program that flags nursing homes with a long history of abuse and neglect putting vulnerable adults in danger. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, created the program in 1998. The purpose was to monitor nursing homes that continuously fail to meet health and safety standards.

The KSHB 41 I-Team learned nursing homes with a pattern of serious problems that can put residents’ health and safety at risk are placed on the SFF list. Google the words, “Special Focus Facility list” and it’ll bring up the most recent list. Be wary of these facilities. State surveyors should inspect facilities on the list more often. CMS allows the facilities to continue to accept (and neglect) new residents. Ridiculous.

CMS removes nursing homes in the Special Focus Facility Program. Most selected facilities “graduate” from the list within 18 to 24 months. However, many of the same nursing homes repeatedly show up on the list. This is necessary because the lack of resources and oversight created a waiting list of poor facilities.

CMS only terminates 10% of them from Medicare and Medicaid despite a lack of improvement by the vast majority on the list. Each state has a minimum number of slots for the program. Stay away from these facilities. Stay away from for-profit chains affiliated with facilities on the list.

“Despite the tens of billions of federal taxpayer dollars flowing to nursing homes each year, too many continue to provide poor, sub-standard care that leads to avoidable resident harm.” -CMS

Problem Facilities: SFFs and One-Star Nursing Homes (2021) - NursingHome411