• 5 Mid-South nursing homes among hundreds of 'poor-performing' facilities with health, safety issues

    By: Kody Leibowitz


    Five Mid-South nursing homes are on a list of poor-performing nursing home facilities released for the first time by the federal government. 

    Those facilities are part of more than 400 nationwide that have apparent continuous health and safety issues. 

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS, released the underperforming facilities list this week after demands from two Pennsylvania senators on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. 

    CMS releases a Special Focus Facility list each month, which compiles about 80 nursing homes across the country in danger of losing federal Medicare and/or Medicaid funds for substandard care. 

    “Although such facilities have sometimes incorporated enough improvement in the present problems to pass one survey, they have frequently manifested many problems on the next survey, often for many of the same deficiencies,” a CMS spokesperson said. “Such facilities with ‘yo-yo’ compliance history rarely addressed the underlying systemic quality of care problems that were giving rise to the repeated cycles of serious deficiencies.”

    But the new list shows nearly 400 additional nursing homes in need of more monitoring and inspection called SFF candidates.

    Five of those facilities are in the Mid-South: Crestpark Wynne in Ark.; Diversicare of Southaven in Miss.; and Lauderdale Community Living Center, Dyersburg Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Rainbow Rehab & Healthcare in Tenn.

    Four of those facilities are listed as SFF candidates, with Lauderdale Community Living Center listed in the actual SFF program. 

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    “Since the SFF designation, we have been surveyed a number of times and continuously improved to a zero-efficiency survey less than three months ago,” said Susan Pittman, the administrator for

    Lauderdale Community Living Center. “I find fault with the label of troubled facilities when we have showed improvement with every regulatory survey since the designation.”

    Pittman told FOX13 Investigates she’s surprised that LCLC is still on the SFF list.

    The administrator said she’s confident that her facility will be below the state average for health deficiencies during their next inspection date.

    Tennessee nursing homes have an average number of 3.7 health deficiencies per inspection, according to CMS inspection report data.

    “We are a very happy family, happy residents. We love our residents,” said Pittman. 

    Combined, these five Mid-South nursing home facilities have paid more than $1.1 million in federal fines over the past three years. And three of those facilities were denied Medicare payments during that same time period, according to CMS data.

    FOX13 Investigates reached out to those facilities. 

    None had any comment. 

    "Administrator Verma has made ensuring quality care in nursing facilities a priority and recently announced a five-part plan that focuses on strengthening requirements for nursing homes, working with states to enforce statutory and regulatory requirements, increasing transparency of nursing home performance, and promoting improved health outcomes for nursing home residents," said Dr. Kate Goodrich, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality and CMS Chief Medical Officer, in a prepared statement in a media call Wednesday afternoon. 

    CMS also provided several tips on how to review and select a nursing home for family members:

    • Visit Nursing Home Compare at CMS.gov for star ratings.
    • Above all, visit the nursing home.  Talk to staff, residents, and other families.  You may request to see the results from the last State or CMS survey (it should be in a place that is easily accessible.)
    • Before your visit, look at the survey history of the nursing home on Nursing Home Compare to see what areas may be problematic.   
    • Ask the nursing home staff what they are doing to improve the quality of care for residents in the nursing home. 
    • Call the State survey agency (link to Nursing Home Compare) to find out more about the nursing home. Look at the length of time that a nursing home has been on the SFF list. This is particularly important if the nursing home has been an SFF nursing home for more than 18-24 months, since such nursing homes are closer to either graduating (due to improvements) or ending their participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
    • Call your local State Ombudsman, Administration on Aging, and local groups to find out more about the nursing home.
    • Use the Nursing Home Brochure found at http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/nursinghome.pdf and “Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home” http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/02174.pdf both publications are available on Nursing Home Compare.
    • If you currently reside in a SFF nursing home, please know that this home is being closely monitored (it is inspected twice as often as other nursing homes).  You may also direct any questions you have to the contacts 

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