Five health care facilities in central Pennsylvania are on a list of approximately 400 under-performing nursing homes that were not -- until now -- made public, according to U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey.
The Senators said in a news release that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oversees a program for nursing homes that underperform, called the Special Focus Facility program. Facilities are chosen to participate in the program. Others that don't are, according to the lawmakers, are "kept hidden from the public.
Sens. Casey and Toomey received the list following an inquiry with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The list includes:
- Shippensburg Health Care Center - 121 Walnut Bottom Rd, Shippensburg, PA 17257
- The Gardens at Blueridge - 3625 N Progress Ave, Harrisburg, PA 17110
- Spring Creek Rehabilitation and Health Care Center - 1205 S 28th St, Harrisburg, PA 17111
- The Gardens at West Shore - 770 Poplar Church Rd, Camp Hill, PA 17011
- Falling Spring Nursing and Rehab Center - 201 Franklin Farm Ln, Chambersburg, PA 17202
"Across Pennsylvania, and the Nation, most nursing homes serve their residents well and treat them with dignity and kindness. It is outrageous that we continue to hear stories of abuse and neglect in nursing homes that do not live up to these high standards," said Sen. Casey. "Choosing a nursing home is a difficult, and often painful, decision to make. Individuals and families deserve to have all the information available to choose the facility that is right for them. I will continue to press the Administration to ensure every person has ready access to the information they need to make a fully informed choice."
Sen. Toomey added, "When a family makes the hard decision to seek nursing home services for a loved one, they deserve to know if a facility under consideration suffers from systemic shortcomings. While the vast majority of nursing homes provide high-quality care, there are some that are consistently failing to meet objective standards of adequacy. To date, CMS has arbitrarily excluded from public disclosure a subset of these underperforming nursing homes. Moving forward, I hope CMS will give the public this particular list, as well as all relevant information about nursing home quality."
CMS responded to Sen. Toomey and Sen. Casey saying:
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) takes very seriously our responsibility to hold nursing facilities serving Medicare and Medicaid residents accountable for furnishing safe, quality care for our beneficiaries. Earlier this month, I emphasized CMS's commitment to nursing home safety by announcing our five-part plan to ensure the care provided in America's nursing homes
is of the highest possible quality. That plan 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 - all without unnecessary paperwork that keeps providers from focusing on residents."
FOX43 reached out to all five health care facilities central Pennsylvania that are on the list of under-performing nursing homes.
Drew LeRoy of Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center responded, saying:
"Falling Spring Nursing & Rehabilitation Center began participating in the Special Focus Facility Program based on historical inspection results in the years prior to 2018. With the support of its current management team and dedicated employees, Falling Spring continues to be committed to providing quality care for its residents. Part of our commitment includes cooperating with CMS and the state of Pennsylvania by participating in regular survey inspections, which have consistently found that the care our facility provides continues to improve. We are pleased to say that based on the findings of those inspections, Falling Spring graduated from the Special Focus Facility Program in May 2019. Our residents will remain our first priority and we will continue working hard to achieve our goal of providing the highest quality care possible in a home-like environment."
We have not heard back from the other four nursing homes on the list that are located in central PA.