FEATURED PHOTO: DANNY WILLIAMS, CEO ELIZA BRYANT VILLAGE
Ideastream.org, By Marlene Harris-Taylor, Posted June 12th 2019
Four Northeast Ohio nursing homes are on a list of troubled facilities that has been released to the public by two U.S. Senators.
Canton Christian Home, Eliza Bryant Village in Cleveland, Hudson Elms Nursing Home and Stow Glen Health Care Center, were all found to have serious health, safety or sanitary problems according to the federal government.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not offically release the list of poorly performing facilities, which had been under wraps for years. But the agency provided the names of under-performing nursing homes from across the country with Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R), who then released the names to the news media this month.
“Individuals and families deserve to have all the information available to choose the facility that is right for them,” Casey said in a press release.
The names of more than 400 nursing homes and care facilities that scored poorly during at least three inspections were submitted by each state to CMS for consideration in the Special Focus Facility program, a federal effort to help struggling nursing homes resolve their quality problems. The agency then chose 88 facilities from that list for the program. Facilities partcipating in that program are regularly disclosed, including Fairlawn Rehab and Nursing in Akron. As part of the program, it receives greater federal scrutiny and a yellow warning label appears next to its name on the CMS Nursing Home Compare website.
The names of the other nurding homes flagged as poorly performing but not chosen for the special oversight program were kept hidden from the public until the senators released them on Monday. The senators said they asked CMS to release the names, but the agency declined.
CMS notified the two senators on Wednesday that the agency is reversing its previous policy. CMS will soon begin publicly releasing the complete monthly list of nursing facilities that are considered troubled and under consideration for the Special Focus Facility program.
Both Danny Williams, CEO of Eliza Bryant, and Tammy Denton, CEO of Stow Glen, said the data used by state and federal officials about nursing homes performance is often old.
“We’ve had a couple serious incidents that we responded to promptly,” Williams said. “By the time CMS had come out we had already taken appropriate action.”
But Eliza Bryant continues to live under the shadow of that federal reporting for a long time, he said.
In a letter to Sen. Casey, CMS director Seema Verma said the agency used to have more resources to oversee troubled nursing homes in the Special Focus Facility program. Due to budget cuts, however, the program has been cut back over the past five years.
Although CMS declined to release the names of all the facilities to the public itself, those who score poorly on inspections typically have a very low star rating on the CMS website, Verma wrote in the letter to Casey.
“So, consumers and other stakeholders are alerted to the quality of care issues in these facilities by viewing their star rating and survey results on the Nursing Home Compare website,” Verma wrote