Late last month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its latest list of “Special Focus Facilities (SFF).” The list is populated with nursing homes throughout the country that have a history of providing substandard care. Compiling information about these particularly deficient homes is intended to identify facilities for participation in a special program that works to improve nursing home care. Unfortunately, several areas homes which are frequently sites of Illinois nursing home neglect have been added to this list. Several other negligent Illinois nursing homes have also been stuck on the list for years -indicating systematic problems.
Specifically, three new state facilities have been newly labeled as a “Special Focus Facility:” Alden Town Manor Rehab & Healthcare in Cicero, Columbus Manor Residential Care Home in Chicago, and Galesburg Terrace in Galesburg. The three facilities that remain on the list after failing to improve as required are the Embassy Care Center in Wilmington, Nathan Health Care Center in East St. Louis, and the Rockford Nursing & Rehab Center in Rockford.
It is important for local residents to be aware of the homes on this list and understand the purpose of the program when making their decisions about where their loved one will seek the extra care that they need. All Special Focus Facilities are personally visited by CMS survey teams twice as frequently as other homes-usually about two times a year. The surveyors seek to ensure that basic standards are met by the homes with sanctions issued for failure to show improvement. Those sanctions can range from fines to complete termination from any participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
CMS has long been an important force in the regulation of nursing homes. Investigators form this federal agency usually visit all licensed nursing homes each year to check on the care that those facilities are providing to residents. If a CMS employee finds a deficiency in care-anything from inadequate pressure sore prevention to fire hazards-then the facilities will be identified and the facility will be required to make improvements. Failure to made adequate improvement may lead to sanctions. Most nursing home inspections uncover about 6-7 deficiencies. However, some homes, including those on the SFF list, have two or three times as many problems and those problems are often more serious. It is only after a facility has shown repeated, substantial, serious deficiencies that they may be labeled a Special Focus Facility.
Over the years, our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers at Levin & Perconti have filed lawsuits against many homes which that have been included in these lists. Unfortunately, the same facilities seem to provide substandard care time and again. This SFF list is a helpful tool for local families to easily track the care provided at nearby homes. It is likely evident that community members should be extra careful when sending their loved one to live at a facility on this list. Also, all those who already have friends and family members in one of the homes should take steps to make sure that those loved ones do not fall victim to Illinois nursing home abuse or neglect.
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