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CMS strengthens SFF program with FY 2017 Special Focus Facility S&C Memo

In a newly released S&C letter, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sets out the enhanced process in place for Special Focus Facilities (SFF). Special Focus Facilities are nursing facilities that are consistent poor performers on survey, with a persistent pattern of poor quality on their last three standard surveys and complaint surveys. CMS provides a list of candidates to each SA, who then selects the SFFs who will be added to the SFF list.

The methodology for selecting new SFFs has been “harmonized” with the health inspection domain of the Five Star Quality Rating System. This means that candidates for the SFF program will be provided monthly when the Five Star Quality Rating updates are made. Other information provided in this memo covers:

  • How the initial selection of an SFF is made
  • Notification to the Facility
  • Accountable Parties within the Organization
  • Use of Progressive Enforcement
  • Operational Procedures

The Special Focus Facility Program ultimately results in a provider graduating from the program or being terminated from Medicare and Medicaid. The SFF Program is a topic that CMS Compliance Group has blogged about over the years, but we will be releasing detailed information on what providers need to know about updates to the SFF program in the next few days. In the meantime, you can read the March 2, 2017 CMS S&C letter, “Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Special Focus Facility (SFF) Program Update” (Ref: S&C: 17-20-NH) on the CMS website.

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