MIDDLEBURY–Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing has achieved it’s first-ever “5- Star Rating” from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is the highest CMS level of rating for the quality of care, staffing and results from health department inspections. In addition to notifying the facility, the data is published on the CMS “Nursing Home Compare” website where it is available to the public.
On this web site, CMS explains the rating system and why it is important for consumers to understand and monitor. “Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide to their residents. Reviewing health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data are three important ways to measure nursing home quality”.
According to CMS, the Nursing Home Compare rating system “allows consumers to compare information about nursing homes. It contains quality of care and staffing information for all 15,000 plus Medicare- and Medicaid-participating nursing homes and includes data which reflects nursing home specific performance on on-site health department inspections, staffing ratios and several quality of resident care measures”.
The data is provided to CMS by individual nursing homes on an ongoing basis using a form called the Minimum Data Set. The information collected includes the residents’ health, physical functioning, mental status, general well-being and quality of care information like whether residents have gotten their flu shots, are in pain, or are losing weight.
In terms of staffing, federal law requires all nursing homes to provide enough staff to adequately care for residents. However, there’s no current federal standard for the best nursing home staffing levels according to the CMS site. ”Nursing homes must have at least one RN for at least 8 straight hours a day, 7 days a week, and either an RN or LPN/LVN on duty 24 hours per day. Certain states may have additional staffing requirements. LNAs provide care to nursing home residents 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. The amount of physical therapy service hours depends on the needs of the resident” according to CMS.
Helen Porter Administrator, Jim Darragh, shared this news with the entire Porter Medical Center community earlier this week in an email. “This accomplishment reflects the outstanding work you all do each and every day to provide a quality home for our residents and short stay patients. I am proud to work with such caring and compassionate people who are truly dedicated to this important segment of healthcare and the elderly population we serve. I’m particularly impressed with the improvement in our health inspection score; which directly reflects our adherence to both federal and state regulation regarding all aspects of our nursing home operations and all areas and departments” he wrote.
According to Darragh, ratings such as this are important, but he emphasized that it also is important for people to come and visit any long-term care facility, meet the staff and view the physical features of the nursing home before making a final decision. “At Helen Porter, we are so fortunate to have incredible activities programming, short-term rehabilitation services, special end- of-life rooms and programs and a beautiful courtyard for our residents” he said.
In concluding his message to the staff, Darragh added: “This achievement reflects the continued hard work and focus in the area of clinical care and other outcomes such as, frequency of re- hospitalizations, successful discharges home, percentage of residents who receive both influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, just to name a few. Please except my most sincere appreciation and thanks for all that you do to make this a quality place to live and a true community asset that contributes significantly to the PMC mission: To improve the health of our community, one person at a time”.