Last month, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an update that requires two New Jersey Nursing homes to have more frequent inspections. These inspection requirements were implemented as a result of the nursing home facilities accumulating too many health violations.
Quality Issues in New Jersey Long Term Care Facilities
The report released by the CMS includes a Special Focus Facility (“SFF”) Initiative, which includes a list of nursing homes that have “had a history of serious quality issues and are included in a special program to stimulate improvements in their quality of care.”
Nursing home on the SFF list must be inspected twice as frequently as other nursing homes.
According to Mark Levine, a former nursing home administrator who consults in the industry, “It’s not a list you want to be on. It’s the worst of the worst.”
Meadowview Nursing and Respiratory Care in Williamstown, NJ
The first facility under scrutiny is Meadowview Nursing & Respiratory Care in Williamstown, NJ. This facility is one of the “Newly Added” nursing homes to the SFF program, and has been on the list for 3 months.
According to a recent article, Meadowview received very low marks in the health inspection category. Nevertheless, this nursing home maintains high marks for its staffing level, a common problem found in nursing homes.
Additionally, this facility still holds a five star Medicare rating. These ratings look at the quality measures and patients’ improvement; whereas the low health inspection ratings (only one star) is due to violations in building and kitchen maintenance. This extremely low health rating dropped MeadowView’s facility to a two star rating on Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website.
Mount Laurel Center for Rehab and Healthcare in Mount Laurel, NJ
The second nursing home facility on the SFF list is Mount Laurel Center for Rehab and Healthcare, which has been under scrutiny for 15 months.
According to CMS’ report, the Mount Laurel nursing home facility is one of the facilities that has not improved, despite being on the list for over a year now.
Mount Laurel Center for Rehab and Healthcare received a one star rating for its health inspection and three star ratings for its staffing and quality care grades. Overall, this facility has just a one star rating.
How the SFF Is Aiming to Improve the Quality of Care in New Jersey Nursing Homes
According to Mark Levine, the facilities in the SFF program are on the list for at least 18 months. This allows regulators to ensure that systematic problems are actually being resolved.
Nursing homes on the SFF list are inspected every three months, instead of every 12-18 months, and these inspections are unannounced. This schedule of inspections continues until it is proven that the nursing home facility’s progress is permanent.
In the case that the facility does not “graduate” from the SFF list, the nursing home will eventually be kicked out of Medicaid and Medicare, a serious problem for these facilities.
Is There An Acceptable Amount of Nursing Home Deficiencies?
Unfortunately, even in nursing homes that are not a part of the SFF program, there are still deficiencies noted in inspections. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services states that the average nursing home has 6-7 deficiencies.
However, some facilities may have twice the number of deficiencies, may include issues that have a higher risk of harming residents, or may bounce in and out of compliance.
Questions about Nursing Home Care
Deciding to place a loved one in a nursing home facility can be a very hard decision. This issue is only made more difficult when it comes to understanding which facilities offer the best care. For more information about this, you can visit the page on our website dedicated to helping you choose the right nursing home in New Jersey. There you will find key questions to ask nursing homes as well as a checklist for in-person visits.