Medical news

Three out of seven nursing home facilities in Rome received a top, five-star, rating from Nursing Home Compare, whose survey ranked at least 25 percent of Georgia nursing homes “much below average.”

Nursing homes were graded on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. The ratings in those categories are combined to form an overall rating.

Chulio Hills Health and Rehab, 1170 Chulio Road, was given a one-star rating. A representative of their facility wasn’t available to comment.

The report — produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — said the facility received a one-star rating partly due to their handling of a resident who was making sexual advances toward females.

The five-star “much above average” rating went to Golden Living Center, 1345 Redmond Road; Pruitt Health, 2 Three Mile Road; and Winthrop Health and Rehabilitation, 12 Chateau Drive.

Fifth Avenue Health Care, 505 N. Fifth Ave., and Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation Center, 139 Moran Lake Road, were given a four-star “above average” rating. Etowah Landing, 809 S. Broad St., was issued a three-star “average” rating.

The survey, released in August, looks at the service quality of nursing homes that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid assistance programs.

According to the Nursing Home Compare website, the ratings are intended to be used as a public service — so potential patients and family members can compare one facility against another.

The data is derived from the three most recent state inspections and complaint investigations. It also comes from internal reviews done by each nursing home on their residents’ health, physical functioning, mental status and general wellbeing.

Golden Living spokeswoman Michelle Metzger said receiving the highest rating is an accomplishment, but nothing to stay focused on as it only reflects a specific period of time.

“What could be a five-star rating today, next month we could miss it,” Metzger said. “It’s one of those things that’s hard to brag about just for that very reason.”

The five-star rating system isn’t used to impose regulations on a nursing home, but to publicize information on a nursing home’s service. Each month the Nursing Home Compare ratings are updated to reflect the latest inspections.

“It’s a wonderful thing for the consumer to look at. At the same time, it’s not an entire picture,” Metzger continued. “That’s why we always encourage people to tour and see for themselves.

“It doesn’t mean that people who aren’t given a five are giving poor service.”

Nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid are strictly regulated, and at times are issued citations on things an average consumer wouldn’t deem an issue, she added.

“We’re more highly regulated than the nuclear industry,” she said. “Using the wrong hand soap is considered a citation.”

And if a nursing home is issued a citation by a state surveyor, then the issue at hand must be addressed.

“And if you’re out of compliance for an … extended period of time, you’re put out of business and the CMS will pull your funding,” Metzger said.


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