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Knowing that you must place your loved one in a nursing home facility may be one of the most emotionally taxing challenges you may face.

We hear about the horror stories of abuse, neglect, and poor conditions in nursing homes all the time. This makes choosing the right facility and placing your trust in the staff an even greater challenge – and for good reason.

Despite a nursing home’s above-par rating and positive reviews, negligence and abuse can still occur. In some cases, the families of residents don’t become aware until it’s too late.

Federal Crackdown On Nursing Home Violations

There are roughly 15,700 nursing homes across the United States. There are 88 facilities that are under scrutiny by the Special Focus Facilities (SFF) program, and more than 400 that are considered candidates. Some of them have even earned high ratings on the Nursing Home Compare website.

The 88 facilities that are selected for the SFF program are targeted for increased oversight for repeatedly failing to meet required care standards and resident protections set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Facilities that don’t improve are subject to civil monetary penalties or expulsion from Medicare and Medicaid eligibility. In addition, these facilities may have their ratings hidden from Nursing Home Compare until the required improvements are made.

Names Of The Facilities Undisclosed

A list of these facilities was compiled by the CMS, but the names of the facilities were previously undisclosed. In order to alert the public, Pennsylvania senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey released a list of these facilities on their own accord in a report titled Families’ and Residents’ Right to Know: Uncovering Poor Care in America’s Nursing Homes.

“To date, CMS has arbitrarily excluded from public disclosure a subset of these underperforming nursing homes,” Toomey said in a statement. “Moving forward, I hope CMS will give the public this particular list, as well as all relevant information about nursing home quality.”

Prior to 2014, the number of facilities scrutinized through the SFF program stood at 167. CMS administrator Seema Verma attributed the lower number of candidates to federal budget cuts in a written response to Toomey and Casey.

Each month, the list of candidates is updated based on state survey findings. Candidates are selected for SFF scrutiny only once a listed facility graduates from the SFF program or is terminated from participating in Medicare and Medicaid. If a facility isn’t selected, it will remain listed as a candidate for 18 months.

Facilities selected for scrutiny typically have 12-18 months to graduate from the SFF program by producing two standard surveys that don’t show any serious deficiencies within 6 months. If a facility doesn’t graduate from the SFF program, it may face further sanctions or termination from eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid.

There is currently one nursing home facility in Alabama under scrutiny in the SFF program. Four others are listed as candidates.

When finding the right facility for your loved one, it’s important to know which ones are in violation of CMS standards, but abuse or neglect can happen at any nursing home – even those that go under the radar.

That’s why we urge you to speak to an experienced attorney at Braswell Murphy LLC if your loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Our highly skilled and compassionate attorneys proudly serve families in Mobile and throughout the state of Alabama. Contact us today to find out how we can help.