A new comprehensive report released by U.S. News and World Report called the Nursing Home Finder has ranked the best and worst nursing homes in the United States. This annual interactive report has been published since 2009, with the 2017-18 issue now available.
More than 15,000 homes were rated nationwide. Nursing Home Finder evaluates long-term care facilities using data from Nursing Home Compare, which is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS gives an overall star rating of one to five stars to nursing homes based on their performance in the areas of medical quality measures, nurse staffing, and state-conducted health inspections. Each of those three key areas also receives an individual rating.
Beginning last year, U.S. News modified its approach to the Nursing Home Finder, rather evaluating a nursing home’s performance over time, placing a higher emphasis on medical quality measures, and making the public more aware of homes that only deliver the bare minimum on rehabilitative services. New this year to Nursing Home Finder is a five-level rating scale for nursing homes, ranging from “Top Performing” to “Poor.”
So, how do Ohio’s nursing homes rank?
1 in 3 Ohio Nursing Homes are Rated “Poor” or “Below Average”
This may be tough news to swallow. Of 945 Medicare or Medicaid nursing homes in Ohio, 348 — or 36.8% — are rated “poor” or “below average.”
What does this mean?
“Poor” is the lowest rating on Nursing Home Finder, with homes receiving a rating of 1 out of 5. “Below average” are homes that have received a 2 out of 5 rating.
Let’s take a look at one example. An overall below-average Ohio facility received a “poor” rating for health inspection and complaints, received a “below average” rating for medical care quality measures, and paid three fines in the past three years totaling over $8,700. It did score “above average” for its staffing, meaning the average number of hours per day of care received per resident from registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and more. However, because U.S. News chooses to focus on weighting medical care quality measures as part of its new evaluation process, the facility received an overall “below average” rating.
It should be noted that both retirement and assisted-living communities were not covered in CMS or U.S. News rankings, as they are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid and therefore not regulated by CMS.
How do Cleveland nursing homes rank?
Of the 148 nursing homes within 25 miles of Cleveland, 47 received a “poor” or “below average” rating. That makes for a slightly smaller percentage of underperforming nursing homes locally compared to state average, at 31.8%, or just below 1 in 3 nursing homes.
Here’s how all Cleveland-area nursing homes ranked:
- 29 were ranked “Top Performing”
- 32 were ranked “Above Average”
- 40 were ranked “Average”
- 29 were ranked “Below Average”
- 18 were ranked “Poor”
Of the 29 “Top Performing” nursing homes, one nonprofit, suburban, 160-bed facility ranked as a top performer on both medical care quality measures (like getting patients flu shots and taking care of bedsores) and health inspection and complaints. Its staffing rating was above average, losing some points because its licensed practical and vocational nurses spend less time on patients than the state and national average. Its physical therapy staff also spends just 2 minutes per day per patient — that’s two minutes less than the state average, and four minutes less than the national average.
Of 18 nursing homes ranked “poor” in greater Cleveland, just two are in city limits. One is a moderate-sized facility with 99 beds, and was ranked “poor” in each area except medical care quality measures, of which it ranked “average.” Despite medical care quality measures generally being considered more heavily, it appears the facility’s history pushed it to the overall “poor” ranking. The nursing home paid two fines in the last three years totaling over $28,000, and it was denied Medicare or Medicaid payments by the government in June 2016.
A few of this facility’s violations or complaints, ranked as a “low” potential for harm but affecting between a few and many residents, included:
- “failed to provide routine and emergency drugs through a licensed pharmacist under the general supervision of a licensed nurse;”
- “failed to allow residents the right to participate in planning or revising care and treatment;”
- “failed to develop and implement policies for 1) screening and training employees and 2) preventing, identifying, investigating and reporting any abuse, neglect, mistreatment and misappropriation of property.”
How can I choose the right nursing home?
Though Cleveland facilities on average rank higher than facilities statewide, the number of local nursing homes that are ranked poorly remains unacceptable. However, U.S. News and CMS caution that the rankings provided should be taken with a grain of salt — “whether good or bad, (they) are just a starting point.”
At Plevin & Gallucci, we know that finding the right nursing home is important to you and your family. Like CMS and U.S. News, we recommend that you make an in-depth visit (or two, or three) to a few facilities you’ve narrowed down to see if they’ll make the cut for your loved one.
Of course, any nursing home can be subject to problems. We never want to see our loved ones neglected or abused, but it happens. If you think your family member has been abused or neglected in an Ohio nursing home, call the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers of Plevin & Gallucci today. We can help you determine your legal rights and seek compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering.
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