BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WEEK) — Two nursing homes in Central Illinois are among those on a special federal government watch list targeting troubled facilities.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) wrote the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in March to request a list of the more than 400 facilities nationwide either in the federal Special Focus Facility Program (SFF) or that are candidates for inclusion.
The program targets facilities that “substantially fail” to meet required care standards and resident protections for additional oversight.
On Monday, the senators released the April 2019 list of SFF candidates to the public. The list is generally not made available publicly.
Aperion Care Bloomington is listed as a current participant in the SFF program. Accolade Healthcare of Pontiac is listed as a candidate.
CMS reports there are currently 88 SFF participants and 435 candidates out of more than 15,700 nursing homes nationwide. An additional 400 facilities qualify, but are not selected due to “limited resources” at CMS. Since 2005, more than 900 facilities have been placed on the SFF list.
SFF participants are currently designated as such on CMS’ “Nursing Home Compare” website. Candidates are not identified as such. The senators said the website lacks detailed information what an SFF facility is, how long it has been in the program, and if it has improved under increased federal oversight. The senators also said the list is not frequently updated.
“As evidenced by this report, oversight of America’s poorest quality nursing homes falls short of
what taxpayers should expect. Senators Casey and Toomey will continue to advocate for increased
transparency into consistently underperforming facilities and a robust Special Focus Facility (SFF)
program that has the tools it needs to oversee these nursing homes,” the senators concluded in their report.
We have reached out to Aperion and Accolade Healthcare for comment.