Mid-Michigan nursing homes appear on federal list of troubled facilities

Maricruz Casares
Junio 7, 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) roster of "candidates" for Special Focus Facility status became public on Monday, when a bipartisan pair of senators released the list of more than 400 buildings as part of a larger report on nursing home safety.

Verma said budget restraints have made it hard to add more special focus facilities. "To date, CMS has arbitrarily excluded from public disclosure a subset of these underperforming nursing homes".

"Given the interest in the Special Focus Facilities (SFF) program and the agency's commitment to transparency, CMS is evaluating the possibility of releasing the list, which is updated monthly", a spokesperson on Tuesday told SNN via e-mail.

The CMS usually chooses approximately five of the poorest-performing nursing homes to participate in Special Focus, and states pick the best candidates. He said he was pleased with the agency's move to release its list of homes with persistent problems. Pat Toomey, both from Pennsylvania, released a previously undisclosed list of some 400 nursing homes where inspectors have found problems. KDKA called the nursing homes in Pittsburgh and Westmoreland County but did not receive replies.

In particular, the CMS spokesperson pointed to administrator Seema Verma's repeatedly professed interest in skilled nursing oversight. She said in 2000 there were 167 such facilities and 835 candidates compared to 88 facilities and 440 candidates today. About 2,900 nursing homes have the lowest one-star overall rating.

Goodrich welcomed the transparency discussion but noted there is more detailed quality information available on the agency's "consumer-friendly" Nursing Home Compare website.

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"It might help (consumers) avoid facilities that the government is acknowledging are very, very troubled", said Toby Edelman, a senior policy lawyer with the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy. David Gifford, vice president for quality with the American Health Care Association, said the inspection reports on which the CMS lists are based are only one measure, and people should also consider other factors such as staffing levels and clinical outcomes. Casey said he supported the agency's decision to begin regularly releasing the list.

Monday's report from Sens. Casey and Toomey identified several nursing homes from the list of special focus candidates.

- In Quitman, Texas, the Heritage Healthcare Residence did not prevent the septic system from backing up, causing a foul-smelling black substance to come through the drains and seep into the kitchen floor near food-preparation areas.

She said President Trump has requested an additional $44 million for the agency.

North Mobile Nursing and Rehabilitation Center failed to report three instances of verbal abuse to state officials within two hours of the incidents, CMS noted in a March 2018 inspection of the facility.

"My advice would be to approach the nursing home staff, the management of the nursing home, and ask them a lot of questions about this test", Sen. Hornack said the problem has now been completely resolved.

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