The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its latest quality ratings of nursing homes in the United States. One out of every four Georgia nursing homes received the lowest rating, one star. A one star rating means that the nursing home is “much below average.” Four Savannah-area nursing homes were among those facilities in Georgia receiving one star ratings. Those nursing homes were Signature Healthcare of Savannah, Thunderbolt Transitional Care and Rehabilitation, Abercorn Rehabilitation in Savannah, and Oceanside Health and Rehab. in Tybee Island. A Bryan County nursing home, Bryan County Health & Rehab. Center in Richmond Hill, also received a one star rating.
CMS rates nursing homes on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. CMS looks at the star ratings for each of the three, above-referenced components and then derives an overall rating. The ratings range from one star, which means “much below average,” to five stars, which means “much above average.” With 27.6% of its nursing homes receiving a one star rating, the State of Georgia ranks second worst in the Southeast. CMS created the rating system several years ago to provide consumers with more information about the performance of services and quality of care delivered at nursing homes throughout the United States. Dr. Patrick Conway, the Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Office of CMS, stated that the star ratings provide a “more accurate reflection of the services that nursing homes provide.”
Savannah attorney John Suthers was among the first lawyers in the United States to successfully sue and hold a nursing home accountable for abusing and neglecting a resident. Suthers said, “I applaud the transparency of the star rating system. When folks are faced with the important decision of placing a loved one in a nursing home, this rating system gives them an easier way to determine which nursing home is the best fit.” However, Suthers cautions that the rating system is just one way of looking for a nursing home. Families should still go to the nursing home to see how it appears, ask the right questions, and determine whether it will meet the needs of their loved one. For tips on how to select a nursing home, questions to ask and how to recognize signs of abuse or neglect, go to the Nursing Home Resource Center page at www.sutherslaw.com. For a searchable list of nursing homes and their ratings, go to the Nursing Home Compare page on the CMS website.