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Medicare Doles Out Poor Ratings For Many Of West Virginia Nursing Homes

Posted on Feb 03, 2009
A new five-star rating system for West Virginia's 130 nursing homes and adult care facilities finds that the majority of the state's adult homes are below average. The West Virginia Gazette reported that the first results from December's Nursing Home Compare Program are not ideal.

While 12 of the homes received a five star, much above average rating, 34 homes received one star - a much below average rating. Just over half of West Virginia's nursing homes, 50.8 percent, were either much below average or below average.

In general, for-profit nursing homes scored poorly, with national chains snagging 20 of the 34 poorest ratings. Non-profit facilities fared better.

"Our goal in developing this unprecedented quality rating system is to provide families a straightforward assessment of nursing home quality, with meaningful distinctions between high and low-performing homes," acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said in December.

Although the program has released nursing home rating in the past, this is the first year that the five-star system has been implemented so that consumers can more easily differentiate between their choices for quality care.

Predictably, the administrators of the five-star nursing homes were pleased by the list, while the others were dissatisfied. Jesse Samples, the director of the West Virginia Health Care Association, called the data used for the rating "flawed and incomplete" and suggested that nursing homes were too different and complex to compare fairly to one another.

The rating system is based on staff-to-patient ratios, state inspection results, patient safety, environmental safety, and health-quality measurements that track statistics such as the percentage of patients suffering from UTIs, other infections, and bedsores.

Critics of the rating system say that they would like to see other types of factors included, such as patient satisfaction, daily activities, home atmosphere, and special services. However, Nursing Home Compare said that those factors are easily covered in a visit to a nursing home, while their survey strives to collect information that visitors cannot see on the surface.

About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.

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