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Special Focus NFs Under Public Scrutiny

Last week, US Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania released a list of over 400 nursing facilities nationwide that were at risk of becoming Special Focus Facilities (SFFs) by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a designation which denotes an extended pattern of quality and safety violations.  

CMS typically limits the number of SFFs to five per state, dependent largely on their budget, which has been cut back in recent years. On the heels of this development, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced that it would make the larger list of facilities being considered for SFF status available to the public going forward.

SFFs receive surveys every six months, compared to every 15 months for non-SFFs, and are subject to civil monetary fines and other oversight actions. A majority of SFFs “graduate,” while roughly 10% of SFFs lose their ability to provide care to Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

The list follows on the heels of several high-profile cases of abuse and neglect in Ohio, including the closure of a Columbus-area nursing home, a lawsuit filed by an Ohio family claiming a nursing home abused their loved one and the adjudication of a neglect case earlier this year that resulted in the death of a resident.

LeadingAge Ohio encourages members to review the LeadingAge Public Relations Toolkit to ensure they are always prepared to speak to inquiries related to the quality of care delivered in Ohio’s nursing homes.

Any member in need of additional support related to a media inquiry should contact Patrick Schwartz, Director of Strategic Communications, at  

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