List of Candidates for “Special Focus Facility” Status is Now Public

At the request of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is now publishing a list of nursing homes in each state that are candidates for “Special Focus Facility” (SFF) status. For many years CMS has published a list of facilities that currently hold SFF designation, and that monthly publication now includes the names of facilities at risk of being designated.  

Our review of the July 24, 2019 update shows that no LeadingAge Minnesota member facility is currently a candidate for SFF status, but it is important to know that CMS updates the list each month.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma explained the methodology for identifying SFF candidates in a May 2019 letter to U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. In short, it’s the same methodology used in the health inspection domain of the Five-Star Quality Rating System. The results of each facility's surveys for three cycles of inspection are converted into points, and the facilities with the most points become candidates for the SFF program. Because SFF candidacy is based on survey outcomes, the list of candidates changes monthly.

Each month in Minnesota there will be two facilities that are designated as SFF and ten candidates for designation.  When one of the two existing SFFs makes enough improvement to graduate off the list (or is de-certified because the facility fails to improve after a period of time), the Minnesota Department of Health will then designate one of the ten candidates as a new SFF.

CMS will post the monthly list of SFFs and candidates on its certification and compliance page.  For additional information about the selection of SFFs and the progressive enforcement implemented by the program, see Survey & Certification Memo S&C: 17-20-NH.

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