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CMS Releases Latest List of Special Focus Facilities and Candidates

November 16, 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the latest list of Special Focus Facilities (SFF) and candidates (October 27, 2021).  CMS oversees the SFF program, which places special scrutiny on select nursing homes with a documented pattern of providing poor care.  CMS publicly discloses the names of the facilities chosen to participate in this program and candidate nursing homes.  To be considered for the SFF program, a facility must have a history (at least 3 years) of serious quality issues.  These nursing facilities generally have more deficiencies than the average facility, and more serious problems such as harm or injury to residents. Special Focus Facilities have more frequent surveys and are subject to progressive enforcement until it either graduates from the program or is terminated from Medicare and/or Medicaid.

The recent release from CMS is broken into several lists: Facilities Newly Added to the SFF Program (9 facilities); Facilities that Have Not Improved (13 facilities); Facilities that Have Shown Improvement (43 Facilities); Facilities that Have Recently Graduated from the SFF Program (15 facilities); Facilities No Longer Participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Program (1 facility); and the SFF Candidate List (440 facilities).

What can advocates do with this information?

  • Include the list of facilities in your area/state when providing information to consumers who are looking for a nursing home. Include an explanation of the SFF program and the candidate list.
  • Post the list on your program’s/organization’s website (along with the explanation noted above).
  • Encourage current residents and families to check the list to see if their facility is included.
  • Urge residents and families in a candidate facility to ask the administrator what is being done to improve care.
  • Suggest that resident and family councils invite the administrator to a council meeting to talk about what the facility is doing to improve care, ask for ongoing updates, and share any council concerns.
  • For ombudsmen:  Meet with the administrator to discuss what the facility is doing to address problems and share any resources that might be helpful.

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