On September 17, 2011 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new survey and certification letter announcement.
Effective October 1, 2010 the number of Special Focus Facility slots were adjusted to reflect the current population of nursing homes in each state and an increase of 10% in Special Focus Facilities nationally. The Special Focus Facility program candidate list has also been adjusted so that each allotted slot will have five (5) candidates from which states may recommend selection.
Remember, if you are notified by the state regulatory body in your state that you may be considered for this list it is critical that you take this very seriously. Being identified on a Special Focus List can have a significant impact on your ability to admit residents thus decreasing your census. This designation also has a negative impact within the community at large, resulting in a lack of trust and acceptance.
Even if you haven’t been notified of this risk, it may be beneficial to take a close look at your Quality Assurance program. Are you identifying patterns, trends and negative outcomes timely? Does the committee develop a plan to address negative outcomes/deficient practice? Are you measuring the outcomes to evaluate the efficacy of the interventions? These are some of the steps necessary to identify and address internal issues. Remember, under the Quality Assurance privilege this information remains confidential and should be used to improve the overall practices within your center. If you aren’t sure that your Quality Assurance program meets the standards outlined in the Federal regulations or think that you could be doing a better job in this area please contact your risk manager for assistance.
To read the Special Focus Facility memo in its’ entirety please go to www.CMS.gov