My facility was just put on the Special Focus Facility (SFF) candidate list. Why were we selected and what should we expect?



Candidacy for the SFF program is determined by performance on standard health and complaint surveys in the previous 3 years. CMS issues a list of SFF candidates monthly. In the SFF program updates released on October 21, CMS now directs Survey Agencies (SA) to consider staffing (staffing star ratings or staffing ratios) when deciding between the selection of 2 or more similarly qualified SFF candidates. SAs may additionally consider other relevant factors such as complaint findings or enforcement actions. When a SFF graduates from the program, the SA must select a new facility from the candidate list for the SFF program within 21 days from the opening. If your facility is selected from the candidate list, accountable parties (e.g. administrator, chair of governing body, owner(s), management company, etc.) will be notified in writing. Once selected as a SFF, the SA will schedule a teleconference to discuss what the designation means and their expectations for a “good faith effort” to be made to achieve quality improvement. While on the SFF program, expect to be surveyed every 6 months, and to be eligible to graduate when specific performance criteria are met over 2 consecutive surveys. While on the SFF program, expect progressively stronger enforcement actions in the event the nursing home fails to meet requirements for participation with the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs over time. Learn more

Amie Martin, OTR/L, CHC, RAC-CT, MJ, CDP

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