One important thing to look out for when searching for a nursing home is whether a particular facility has been designated as a Special Focus Facility (SFF). States and the CMS (Medicare and Medicaid) identify nursing homes as special focus facilities when they have a history of "poor compliance."
As an example, I checked with the state of Michigan and as of 12/10/09, only four nursing homes made it's list of Special Focus Facilities:
- Heartland Healthcare Center of Kalamazoo, MI (CMS says this facility has shown improvement, but strangely enough a WhereToFindCare.com member disagrees)
- Riverview Manor in Three Rivers, MI (newly added)
- Royalton Manor in St. Joseph, MI (have not improved)
- South Haven Nursing & Rehabilitation Community in South Haven, MI (have shown improvement)
[UPDATE 5/26/10: South Haven Nursing and Rehab graduated from the SFF list as of 4/22/10. Congratulations to them on their dedication to improvement! And thanks to Janet for letting us know. Also, Heartland and Royalton have "shown improvement," according to CMS. Check http://www.cms.gov/CertificationandComplianc/Downloads/SFFList.pdf for the full national list.]As a Special Focus Facility, each of these are inspected by the state of Michigan every six months. If they do not show "significant" improvement, they will no longer be allowed to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Usually nursing homes have 18-24 months to improve but special circumstances (like a sale to new owners) can earn an extension.
Whether you were a patient, visitor or caregiver, it is important to rate your nursing home so others have the information they need to find the best one for them. If you have an experience, we want to know what you think of these nursing homes. Do you agree with CMS?
Here's the state of Michigan's list of Special Focus Facilities and here is more information from CMS about the Special Focus Facility program, including a national facility list. Read more about choosing a nursing home or start your search.