CMS 'secret' names list sparks protest

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Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Federal regulars set off a maelstrom last month by releasing part — but not all — of a list of 128 of the nation's worst performing nursing homes.

It was the first time in the 10-year history of the “Special Focus Facilities” list that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had publicly revealed facility names.

But the agency listed only the 54 “worst” facilities names on its public Web site. The other 74 names were released to state health departments, only some of which shared in-state names publicly. Also receiving the full list of 128 were a lobbyist group, the American Health Care Association, and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

CMS spokeswomen inquiring members of the media and others that the protected list of 74 contained facilities either just coming on or ready to graduate from the list.

The public snubbing led a handful of U.S. senators to demand that CMS release the full list, while Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation that would force CMS to make the additional names public.
But CMS was holding firm as of press time. 

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