Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Nursing home ratings are ‘oversimplified’

Jan. 19, 2009

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

WRIGHT, McLEOD, CARVER, MN – Deceiving. Irrelevant. Inequitable. Oversimplified. Confusing. Those are the words area nursing home officials are using to describe the five-star nursing home rating system released Dec. 18 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). To see a chart with the breakdown, click here.

“I think it’s a good start,” Andy Opsahl, administrator/CEO of St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted, said. “But I don’t think it’s in its final form. Health care is pretty complex.”

The star rating gives nursing homes a low of one star to a high of five stars based on health inspection results, quality measures, and staffing levels. An overall rating is also provided.

“Look at it, but take it with a grain of salt,” Opsahl advised.

To view ratings and compare nursing homes in Minnesota, consumers can go to www.medicare.gov and click on “compare nursing homes in your area.” From there, people can search for homes within a specified distance by name, zip code, city, state, or county.

“It’s just a snapshot of what’s happening that particular day,” Ann Dirks, administrator at Park View Care Center in Buffalo, said. “We got five stars, and I still don’t think it’s a fair system.”

Burns Manor in Hutchinson was given an overall rating of one star.
”by it,” Administrator Linda Krentz said. “But you can’t put all your heart and soul into one rating system. We have a lot of happy families, and a lot of happy residents here. I don’t know that it’s an accurate assessment.”
in Hutchinson was given an overall rating of one star. y, Krentz also looks at many other factors when determining quality.

quo;t know that it’s an accurate assessment.”re of quality, but not all of it,” Krentz said. “Our state surveys are very good, and we have a high retention of staff. That’s a quality indicator to me.”

lso looks at many other factors when determining quality. area,” Dirks said. “When people look at these ratings, they get a skewed picture.”

of staff. That’s a quality indicator to me.” federal health and safety requirements, and the ratings are not a substitute for visiting a nursing home in person, CMS stated.

look at these ratings, they get a skewed picture.”for your loved one, don’t look at stars, go look at the facility,” Pam Gould, director of nursing at Glencoe Regional Health Services, agreed.

titute for visiting a nursing home in person, CMS stated.anliness of the facility, the smell,” Opsahl said. “Do the people on staff look at you and smile? Are call lights being answered?”

of nursing at Glencoe Regional Health Services, agreed. ecause there are so many things to look at,” Gould added.

at you and smile? Are call lights being answered?”ral factors are measured, such as percent of residents given influenza vaccinations, percent of those experiencing pain, and other resident-based measurements.

there are so many things to look at,” Gould added. are center admits, the ratings might be affected, Krentz said. For example, Burns Manor is equipped with psychiatric care to help people who have behavioral dementia. As a result, the percentage of patients taking psychotropic medications may be higher than average, which could lower their score.

experiencing pain, and other resident-based measurements.ent kinds of people,” Ernie Gershone, administrator for Golden Living Center in Delano, said. “We take a lot of the people other nursing homes don’t take.”

ay be higher than average, which could lower their score. variations in care, but because there are many dimensions to nursing home quality, CMS reports stress that the ratings are to be used “only as a starting point.”

f the people other nursing homes don’t take.”rd The rating system tries to account for variations in care, but because there are many dimensions to nursing home quality, CMS reports stress that the ratings are to be used “only as a starting point.”I To determine the health inspection rating, CMS used the three most recent standard health inspections, in addition to all complaint health inspections conducted in the past three years. g, he said. “I thin “It’s a subjective process,” Gershone said. “Just because you get a few deficiencies doesn’t mean you’re a bad place.” In addition, Minnesota’s inspectors are often stricter than other states, Lisa Beecher, director of nursing at Good Samaritan Society in Waconia, said. are a little tougher,” she said. “But I think Minnesota homes are actually better.”


 

News and Information. Advertising and Marketing.