Any health care agency must meet federal and state standards, and nursing home and assisted living facilities in Alabama are no different. These are enforced by various government departments, and problems are discovered through regular inspections. When there is a complaint that indicates a hazard or low standard of care, this is also examined.

Medicare.gov explains that anyone can check the current standing of a nursing home by reviewing the results of its inspection on the agency’s website. People should also be able to review the results of inspections at the facility itself because they must be publicly posted. The quality of care provided at a nursing home can change quickly, so whether the facility has passed or failed an inspection is not necessarily a guarantee of conditions.

Nursing homes that consistently fail to meet standards risk severe penalties such as losing federal funding. They may also be required to pay fines levied by state and federal governments. In some cases, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, may determine that the facility requires the appointment of outside management to correct the problems.

CMS has created the Special Focus Facilities list to ensure the correction of violations in facilities with significantly more than the average number, with severe deficiencies or with a history of ongoing issues. When a nursing home has been placed on this roll, it is inspected more frequently. Not only must the deficiencies be fixed, the inspections must reveal continued improvement in the months after the initial reform is documented.