List of poor-performing nursing homes still not public a month after promised release
A month after federal regulators pledged to release its secret list of poor-performing nursing homes, officials echoed what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Chief Medical Officer Kate Goodrich said five weeks ago — that the report would be coming “soon.”
Lawmakers said CMS has not provided them a schedule for the report’s release.
Goodrich could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
On June 5, Goodrich said CMS would go public with its list of troubled nursing homes after U.S. Sens. Bob Casey Jr. and Pat Toomey released the secret report.
“Senator Toomey has urged CMS to release the list as soon as possible,” said Bill Jaffee, a Toomey spokesman.“CMS has not provided a timeline, but has reassured our office that it will release the information to the public.”
The list in April identified 400 troubled facilities nationwide, including 20 in Pennsylvania. Sixteen of the state’s homes were marked as candidates for federal intervention while four – two in Westmoreland County – already have the federal designation called a “Special Focus Facility.” Those Westmoreland homes receiving federal intervention are Twin Lakes Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Greensburg and the Grove at North Huntingdon in Irwin. Administrators at both of the homes could not be immediately reached for comment.
The quality of nursing home care has long been a public concern, but the graying of America will make this issue even more critical in the decades to come. By 2040, nearly one in four Pennsylvanians are expected to be age 65 and older, the demographic most likely to need skilled nursing care.
The Special Focus Facility initiative is the federal corrective program designed to bring chronically underperforming facilities into compliance. Failure to do so within 18 to 24 months can result in a facility being cut from Medicare and Medicaid programs, the chief payer for nursing home care.
Budget constraints have limited the program to 88 facilities.
Although CMS compiles the wait list monthly, the agency has not yet made it publicly available.
Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .