Every skilled nursing facility in the country that accepts payment from Medicare or Medicaid is rated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) on a scale of one to five stars. St. Johns County has eight nursing homes. The surrounding counties of Flagler and Putnam have two nursing homes each. Three of the nursing homes in St. Johns County, one nursing home in Flagler County, and both of the nursing homes in Putnam County have poor ratings from CMS.
In St. Johns County, St. Augustine Health and Rehabilitation Center received two stars and the Clyde Vassen State Veterans Nursing Home received two stars. In Flagler County, Grand Oaks Health and Rehabilitation received a one star rating. In Putnam County, Solaris Healthcare Palatka received a one star rating and Windsor Care and Rehab had no rating provided. Rather, the following advisement is provided: This facility is not rated due to a history of serious quality issues and is included in the special focus facility program.” The special focus program provides periodic inspections and recommendations in an effort to enhance the quality of care provided at the nursing home. It may be best to steer clear of this nursing home until it has earned a better rating.
How Nursing Home Ratings are Determined
CMS’ nursing home ratings are based on numerous factors including: health inspections; staffing; and quality of resident care. Health inspections are performed by state nursing home regulators employed by Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration. Such inspections include complaint inspections; periodic health inspections; and infection control inspections. The rating for staffing is based on: the number of hours LPNs and RNs are working on a per resident per day basis; the number of certified nurse assistants working on a per resident per day basis; and the working hours of physical therapists working on per resident per day basis. Quality of resident care considers the frequency that residents have to be sent to an emergency room, the number of residents who develop bedsores or suffer worsening bedsores, the percentage of residents whose mobility is increased and the number of residents who required antipsychotic medication for the first time in their lives.
As nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers in St. Augustine, we have found the rating system to be a fair, although not perfect, indicator of nursing home quality. For example, we have only brought one claim against a five star facility. In comparison we have brought multiple claims against many of the one and two star facilities in the greater Jacksonville area.
We highly recommend that you include the CMS ratings when making a decision about which nursing home is best. In addition to the ratings, we recommend you tour the facility before admission. While doing so, look for telltale signs such as: whether the facility has an unpleasant smell; whether the floors, walls and bathrooms are clean; whether the nursing staff seems stressed and hurried; and the level of hygiene being provided to the residents.
Our St. Augustine nursing home injury attorneys are always able to provide a free, no cost, no obligation, consultation to discuss the strength of your potential claim. If we accept the case, you do not pay us anything unless we recover funds for you.
Nursing home neglect claims are difficult and expensive. We recommend that, before you hire an attorney, you determine whether he or she has experience handling nursing home injury and wrongful death claims.
Our lawyers have handled nursing home neglect cases for more than a decade including cases involving: sepsis; infections; bedsores; dehydration; tracheostomy complications; falls; death; malnutrition; c. difficile infections; diabetic blood glucose level problems; and residents who were dropped by staff members.