Federal Nursing Home Site Now Notes Troubled Facilities

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that its Web site comparing nursing homes will now identify facilities that are on its list of those that have a history of poor performance.

From now on, the agency's Nursing Home Compare site will point out nursing homes that it calls Special Focus Facilities -- those that have repeated violations of state and federal health and safety rules and that rank in the worst 5 percent to 10 percent for inspection results in a given state. CMS released the names of the 131 SFF facilities earlier this year, but this is the first time they will be included on the Nursing Home Compare site. (See "Feds Finally Release Complete List of Deficient Nursing Homes,")

The troubled facilities are identified by a small "2" in superscript next to a facility's name.

A Wall Street Journal article on the CMS decision notes that "consumer groups and nursing home officials warn, however, that nothing can substitute for visiting a nursing home in person." The article also highlights a free Web site MemberoftheFamily.net, that features easy-to-read, color-coded assessments of nursing homes nationwide.

The Journal article observes that CMS began making some of the information about problematic nursing homes public last fall after pressure from Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). The senators are sponsoring a bill that would force CMS to reveal even more data about nursing homes and Grassley is trying to get the provisions added to a Medicare-related bill expected to pass Congress by July 1.

To visit the Nursing Home Compare Web site, click here.

To visit the Member of the Family site, click here.

For the April 24, 2008, Wall Street Journal article, "Web Sites Expand Rating Information On Nursing Homes," click here. (Requires an online subscription.)

For more on choosing a nursing home, click here.