Special Focus Facilities Changes in Program by CMS

Karen Morris and Nancy Leveille in Clinical & Quality

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is making post-sequestration modifications to the Special Focus Facility program (SFF) that adjust the number of designated slots and candidates so states can resume selecting and replacing nursing homes for SFF designation.

 

In its April 18 survey and certification letter, CMS instructs states to select and replace nursing homes for SFF designation and to continue the SFF initiative.

 

CMS expects states to resolve issues with nursing homes having persistent serious problems. Changes include an 18 month "last chance" onsite survey and review of the progress of all facilities that have been on the SFF list for more than 12 months.

 

CMS details the number of SFF slots and candidates list for each state effective May 1 and provides states with the option of designating SFF facilities immediately or phasing in the designation by July 31, 2014.

 

What's in the letter?

 

  • CMS expects states to continue the process to speed up final resolution of issues with SFF nursing homes where serious problems have persisted for a considerable time.
  • Changes include an 18 month "last chance" onsite survey and review of the progress of all facilities that have been on the SFF list for more than 12 months.
  • If the onsite survey reveals ongoing issues "…the facility would continue in the SFF program with a more robust quality improvement program, or the Medicare provider agreement would be terminated for non-compliance…"
  • Effective May 1, 2014, CMS outlines the number of SFF slots and candidates list for each state, adjusted to accommodate future changes in the SFF program.
  • States have the option of designating SFF facilities immediately or phasing in the designation by July 31, 2014.
  • The table also includes a list of the total number of SFFs currently designated.
  • CMS will be developing several pilot programs in various CMS Regions and may be making additional policy process adjustments to the SFF program.

 

  NYSHFA CONTACTS: Karen Morris, RN, MS
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 x25
  Nancy Leveille, RN, MS
Sr. Director, Member Operational Support
518462-4800 x20