The U.S. Senate released a report this summer that included the names of nursing home facilities that had been designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as either participants in or candidates for a Special Focus Facility (SFF) Program dedicated to investigating nursing homes that “substantially fail” in caring for residents.
Prior to the report, only facilities participating in the SFF program were mentioned by name, but the newest report names more than 400 facilities that are candidates to be included. The two senators who led the report, Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), said it was important families choosing a nursing home for their loved one have access to which facilities were candidates, not just the ones that had been deemed as providing the lowest quality care.
Though there are more than 15,700 nursing homes in the country, meaning 0.6 percent are selected for the program, and 2.5 percent are candidates, it still indicates the widespread issue of nursing home abuse.
Nursing Homes Require More Frequent Inspection
Through the SFF program, Congress directs the CMS to more frequently inspect participating facilities. They are inspected at least every six months, while other nursing homes are generally reviewed every year. To select nursing homes for stricter inspections, the CMS takes into its most recent surveys, which do not include input from the community, other state investigations such as surveys, and measurements such as staffing levels.
Senate Criticizes Nursing Home Compare
Congress has also directed CMS to maintain “Nursing Home Compare,” which is an online tool for families and their loved ones to learn about the quality of nursing homes in their area. Families can view staffing data, state surveys and responses to complaints.
The overall rating is communicated through a one-to-five star rating based on surveys and inspections, staffing metrics, and quality scores.
CMS had recently decided to remove the star ratings for SFF participants and instead add an icon that resembles a yellow “caution” traffic sign that provided a brief description of the program. The report criticized the system as “lack[ing] detailed information or context on the SFF program.” Additionally, the Senate claimed the tool is not updated often enough to show changes in ratings.
Lowest Rated Nursing Homes in New Jersey
In New Jersey, nine nursing homes were named as candidates for the SFF program and two are participants, as of June 2019:
- The Wanaque Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation
- Millville Center
- Our Lady’s Center for Rehabilitation & HC
- Care One at Evesham
- Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Sterling Manor
- Waterview Center
- Summit Ridge Center
- Roosevelt Care Center at Old Bridge
- New Grove Manor (participant)
- Riverfront Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center (participant)
Each of the facilities have been charged with significant federal fines and received one out of five star ratings from the CMS. Other issues at some of the facilities included failing to report incidents in a timely manner, failing to maintain clean rooms, and food preparation errors.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
The report is a reminder that nursing home abuse is an all-too-frequent reality, and the elderly are mistreated in ways that include financial, physical and emotional abuse. At DKR, we are experts in nursing home complaints and lawsuits, and we fight for your loved one as if we were family.