Special Focus Facilities – add more to the list says GAO

The government‰Ûªs Special Focus Facility (SFF) program should add 450 nursing homes according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GOA).

The GAO wants to include 580 of the poorest performing facilities nationwide-a more than four-fold increase over the 136 facilities currently singled out by the program.

It gets better. To arrive at their conclusions, researchers included data from the controversial five-star rating system for the first time.

They found that poorest performing nursing homes were more likely to have for-profit status and were a part of a chain. They also had more beds and residents, and had an average of almost 24% fewer registered nurse hours per resident day.

The GAO made a similar recommendation two years ago but officials said the resources to implement the changes were not available.

Senators Kohl and Grassley reintroduced their Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act in March. Among other more restrictive actions for providers, it calls for more information to be made public about nursing home ownership and business structures. Sen. Max Baucus included their proposal in his recently released Senate healthcare reform bill.

I‰Ûªll comment more on this in an upcoming v-log.