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Special Focus Facilities Warned About Inadequate Care By Federal Officials

Community Press News shared information today about various assisted living and rehab facilities which are under fire from federal officials for inadequate care. The story discussed facilities in the paper’s areas which were labeled some of the nation’s worst because of their track record of nursing home neglect. Specifically, the homes were named to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid lists of “Special Focus Facilities.”

Blog readers are aware of this federal list which includes 136 of the nation’s worst nursing homes as defined by various care standards and according to investigations conducted by state and federal officials. The list is released upon analysis by CMS officials of reported deficiencies at nursing homes across the country. When the facility’s problems reach a certain level, then they are placed on the SFF list and they can then only be removed when caregiving progress is made and documented. Besides having homes on the list, each home is also labeled as either “improving” or “not improving.” This provides insight into whether the named facility is actually working to amp up its caregiving or if it has failed to take action to correct is previous nursing home neglect.

As explained in the story, the facilities in question were cited for a variety of problems. Those concerns range from failing to pay adequate attention to resident complaints about staff misbehavior to overmedicating patients as a form of “chemical restraint.” Failure to correct these problems may have significant consequences for the involved facilities, as they may lose their ability to participate in CMS programs. Considering that the vast majority of nursing homes survive financially because of CMS funding, the homes cannot operate if they lose the ability to receive the federal funds. It is hoped that this incentive will spur the homes owners to doing whatever is necessary to improve the facility’s care.

The Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm are very familiar with this SFF list, as several Illinois nursing homes have been included in the latest list. In total, six homes are on the list, with three homes newly added and three other remaining on the list after continuous problems. The newly added homes are Alden Town Manor Rehab and Healthcare in Cicero, Galesburg Terrace in Galesburg, and Columbia Manor Residential Care Home in Chicago. The Embassy Care Center in Wilmington, Nathan Health Care Center in East St. Louis, and Rockford Nursing and Rehab Rockford remain on the list.

These homes have made it onto the list for a range of reasons. CMS officials note that SFF facilities usually have twice the number of deficiencies than the typical nursing home. Beyond that, the actual deficiencies that are found are more often serious, posing risk of significant injury for residents. Additionally, the SFF list takes into account the persistence of the problem. In other words, facilities that are repeatedly found to be the site of nursing home neglect are more likely to make the list as opposed to facilities that may have temporary problems which are quickly corrected.

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