The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) categorizes those nursing homes that have a history of ongoing seriously inadequate quality of care as “Special Focus Facilities” (SFF’s). State or Federal inspections, held on a regular basis, uncover these problematic nursing homes and the results of these inspections are used to compile a list of the worst offenders. Once a nursing home appears on one of the SFF list, the facility has the obligation to fix the problems that were uncovered during the inspections.
St. James Nursing Center in Detroit was previously identified by CMS as one of the worst facilities in the country. On the most recent CMS list, which was issued in February 2012, St. James Nursing Center was identified as a facility that has yet to improve.
It has been reported that about 50% of all SFF’s improve their quality issues within 30 months. If, however, after several inspections, a SFF does not improve, that facility faces fines or removal from participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
This information is helpful to people who are interviewing nursing homes to have available data and history to make an informed choice. Keep in mind that nursing homes on this list are inspected twice as often as other facilities. If you are interested in a SFF nursing home on the list, first look at its history on Nursing Home Compare (www.medicare.gov/nhcompare/). Visit the facility and talk to the staff and residents. Ask to see a copy of the most recent State or CMS inspection. Educate yourself as to this facility’s problem areas, solutions, and length of time as a SFF nursing home. It is important that the nursing home show that the fundamental problems that caused the deficiencies have been fixed.
If this nursing home has been a SFF for more than 18 months, it is either getting closer to solving its problem areas and getting off the list, or at risk of not being able to participate in Medicare and Medicaid any longer.
For more information, go to: https://www.cms.gov/CertificationandComplianc/Downloads/SFFList.pdf