Nursing Homes: CMS’s Special Focus Facility Methodology Should Better Target the Most Poorly Performing Homes, Which Tended to Be Chain Affiliated and For-Profit

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-09-689, August 28, 2009

From the summary:
In 1998, CMS established the Special Focus Facility (SFF) Program as one way to address poor performance by nursing homes. The SFF methodology assigns points to deficiencies cited on standard surveys and complaint investigations, and to revisits conducted to ensure that deficiencies have been corrected. CMS uses its methodology periodically to identify candidates for the program–nursing homes with the 15 worst scores in each state–but the program is limited to 136 homes at any point in time because of resource constraints. In 2008, CMS introduced a Five-Star Quality Rating System that draws on the SFF methodology to rank homes from one to five stars. GAO assessed CMS’s SFF methodology, applied it on a nationwide basis using statistical scoring thresholds, and adopted several refinements to the methodology. Using this approach, GAO determined (1) the number of most poorly performing homes nationwide, (2) how their performance compared to that of homes identified using the SFF methodology, and (3) the characteristics of such homes.

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