The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration regulates nursing homes throughout the state. As part of this process, every six months, the agency releases its survey findings and this month it released its inspection ratings for the October of 2015 through March of 2016 period.
The ratings are based on a five star system and includes survey results for each nursing home in the following categories: dignity; decline; restraints and abuse; nutrition and hydration; administration; quality of life; and quality of care. The end result is an “overall inspection” rating.
A “one star” overall inspection rating means a nursing home is in the bottom 20% of the facilities in the Jacksonville region. “Two stars” means a nursing home ranked better than 20% but less than 40%. Three, four and five star ratings follow a similar formula, with each bracketed in 20% divisions.
Many nursing homes in the Jacksonville region were ranked as one star facilities. Those nursing homes include: Avante at Jacksonville Beach; Brookdale Atrium Way 2; Consulate Health Care of Jacksonville; Governor’s Creek Health and Rehabilitation; Heartland Health Care Center – Jacksonville; The Ponce Therapy Center; Signature Health Care of Jacksonville; and Woodland Grove Health and Rehabilitation Center.
Perhaps not surprisingly, our law firm has represented clients in claims of neglect against five of these eight nursing homes. In comparison, we have not handled a single case against any of the five star rated nursing homes, yet every nursing home is paid in the same manner by Medcaid and Medicare. What does this tell us? It tells us that nursing homes receive enough money to take proper care of residents.
We find many problems when nursing homes attempt to increase profits by decreasing the expense of hiring enough nurses and nurse assistants to take proper care of residents. Florida has minimum standards that require a certain number of nurses and nurse assistants providing direct care to residents based on the resident population of the nursing home.
These are minimum standards, yet often we find that nursing homes cut as close to the minimum levels as possible and, in some instances, we have uncovered situations where nursing homes included time for nurses that did not provide direct care.
In one instance, we determined that a certified nurse assistant’s time was included for shifts she did not even work. In another, we learned that a nurse assistant assigned to our client was disciplined for actually sleeping on the job instead of tending to our client. Sadly, the woman died from a curable infection.
It takes a lot of digging to find such deficiencies. Hiring a lawyer experienced in nursing home neglect cases is very important.
Nursing homes in the Jacksonville area with a two star ranking include: Heartland Health Care Center of South Jacksonville; and San Jose Health
and Rehabilitation Center.