Nursing homes and other care facilities rely heavily on Medicare and Medicaid patients for their income. This is not surprising since people over retirement age qualify for Medicare, and seniors and others with limited income and assets may also qualify for Medicaid.
The federal government, specifically the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, share some of the responsibility for making sure these facilities are providing medical care that is safe, humane and appropriate.
As part of this responsibility, the CMS created its Special Focus Facility program.
A Special Focus Facility has a documented history of poor performance on health and safety inspections. In some cases, this could just be a high volume of corner-cutting behavior, that is, behavior that is in violation of the CMS’s safety standards.
In other cases, the nursing home may have a track record of serious safety failures because of which a patient suffered an injury.
Once a facility is a Special Focus Facility, it is subject to additional government inspections and progressive discipline which can include losing the privilege of accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients.
A facility remains on the list until it either shows consistent improvement in the quality of its care or quits accepting patients on Medicare and Medicaid.
Some Georgia nursing homes appear on the Special Focus Facility list
Assisted living facilities in this state have recently appeared on the Special Focus Facility list. Some of these have been on the list for several months.
A number of other Georgia facilities are eligible to be designated as a Special Focus Facility given a relatively poor record with respect to their regular safety inspections.
Individual patients who are living in Special Focus Facilities may receive perfectly appropriate care.
Still, there is arguably a heightened risk that they will become victims of abuse and neglect since their facility has a history of not meeting safety standards, and too frequently in connection with bad outcomes.
Victims of abuse and neglect and their loved ones may have legal options to pursue compensation.