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Pennsylvania U.S. Senators Questioning Federal Oversight of Nursing Homes

federal nursing home oversightA PennLive investigation in November of 2018 called Still Failing the Frail uncovered that the majority of the former Golden Living nursing homes were still being cited for substandard care by the state Health Department despite changes in management and prior audits.

Since the release of the report, numerous state lawmakers have come forward demanding state and federal regulators improve conditions in substandard facilities, take more aggressive steps to protect residents, and ensure that nursing homes are being held accountable for care-related violations.

However, a federal program designed to target nursing homes that consistently underperform is now being questioned by two of these lawmakers. Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senators Bob Casey Jr. and Pat Toomey sent a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday, March 4th, seeking additional information regarding the agency’s Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. This includes learning more about the program’s operations, scope and overall effectiveness.

The letter was written on behalf of the 80,000 Pennsylvanians who reside in nursing home facilities and are experiencing significant harm, such as unsanitary conditions, insect infestations, improper care, supply shortages, inadequate staffing and more.

The primary concern for both senators is uncovering how nursing homes are chosen as special focus facilities. Of particular interest is a secret list the federal government has of nursing homes that qualify as a special focus facility but have not been given that status.    

Of 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S., only 85 are currently considered special focus facilities. Casey and Tomey believe that Pennsylvanians and families nationwide deserve to know when nursing homes are underperforming and qualify for special focus status and whether or not the program is effectively helping facilities improve.

A 2017 analysis by Kaiser Health News also raised questions about special focus facilities. Out of 528 nursing homes that graduated from special focus status in 2014 and are still in operation, more than half of these facilities (52 percent) have continued to harm residents or put them in serious danger.

For Casey and Tomey, they hope to have their questions answered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by March 27th. Both lawmakers previously signed a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in February of 2018 asking for nursing home oversight reform.  

Speak With An Attorney Now If You Suspect Abuse

If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home facility, do not hesitate to ask questions and take legal action if necessary. The Harrisburg nursing home abuse attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are prepared to fight for the justice and compensation your loved one deserves.  

We are dedicated to protecting the rights of residents to ensure they are receiving the proper care and treatment they need. During a free consultation, we can review your claim and determine if you have a strong case to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not pay us until you obtain compensation.

Give us a call at (717) 888-8888 to get started. We look forward to helping you.