Federal Government Determines Nation's Worst Nursing Homes

Two nursing homes are susceptible to loosing their Medicare and Medicaid funding, after being labeled by federal officials as among the worst in the nation for providing poor or substandard quality of care. Recent health inspections at the two facilities found an increased number of deficiencies when compared to the statewide and national averages.

The nursing homes are among 136 facilities nationwide on the government's special focus facility list of nursing homes that provide substandard care. One of the nursing homes has been on the list for 11 months. Problems found in inspections at the two facilities this year range from not paying attention to residents' complaints about staff behavior and treatment of residents and failing to provide no more drugs than necessary to residents.

The federal special focus facility list has faced criticism since it was created in 1998. The government sets minimum standards that Medicare and Medicaid participating homes must meet. To ensure compliance, participating homes must allow in health inspection teams from the states every 12 to 15 months or following a complaint. The results are reported to federal officials.

Deficiencies found in inspections have to be corrected. Most facilities do correct the issues in a timely matter. However, the special focus facilities often have double the average care violations, more serious violations, like to harm residents, and recurrent violations exceeding three year spans.

Federal regulators created the list after they noticed some nursing homes would swing from non-compliance to compliance and back again without fixing underlying problems. Nursing homes on the list are inspected more frequently than the average facilities. In addition to finding themselves on the special focus list, nursing homes are fined for violations. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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