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Protecting our Seniors:  New Steps Announced to Improve the Quality and Safety of Nursing Homes

Polaris Group Profile
Polaris Group
October 25, 2022
March 14, 2023
Polaris Group Profile
Polaris Group
March 14, 2023

Learn how the White House is addressing quality of care through changes to the SFF program

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A recent article released by the Briefing Room of The White House last week unveiled new details about the mission to improve the quality care in all nursing homes.

The COVID-19 pandemic and recent renewal of state surveys has highlighted the impact of substandard conditions at nursing homes. More than 1.4 million people live in over 15,400 Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes across the nation. In the past two years, more than 200,00 residents and staff in nursing homes have died from COVID-19 – nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

Despite tens of billions of federal taxpayer dollars flowing to nursing homes each year, the Administration feels too many continue to provide poor, substandard care that leads to avoidable resident harm.  In fact, the failure to comply with CMS guidelines is widespread.  82% of all inspected nursing homes in the past five years, had an infection prevention and control deficiency, including a lack of regular handwashing identified through surveys.

Changes to the Special Focus Facility program

The details shared in the news release are pivotal and, in the words of the White House Administration, include “include steps to protect vulnerable residents and the health care heroes who care for them and to crack down on bad actors.”

This will be accomplished through beefing up scrutiny on the poorest performers by requiring more frequent compliance surveys for program participants who must pass two consecutive inspections to ‘graduate’ from the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. The SFF program will be overhauled to improve care more quickly for the affected residents, including changes that will make its requirements tougher and more impactful. Facilities that fail to improve will face increasingly larger enforcement actions, including termination from participation in Medicare and Medicaid, when appropriate.  

Get expert help to improve you clinical and financial performance

How can Polaris Consulting help? Scheduling a mock survey where areas of vulnerability and risk are identified is the best place to start.  Having a professionally trained set of eyes comb through every process and system within your facility will ensure you are on the path to making measurable and sustainable changes that will help you avoid the SFF list. We join your commitment to ensuring all older Americans live in health care setting that promote health, wellness and access to the best care and services possible. Contact us for more information.

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