MONTICELLO — The Piatt County Nursing Home has improved its overall rating from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to four out of five stars.
The nursing home had topped out at two stars on the quarterly assessment in recent years. Director Scott Porter was tasked with improving that when he took the reigns in December of 2017, but knew that it would take time since a portion of it is based on the prior three years of data.
That means the four stars comes close on the heels of his third anniversary as director.
And while Porter said, “I have never administered this nursing home with stars in mind,” he was happy with the rating.
“To say that I am pleased that we have gone from a 1- and 2-star to a 4-star is probably an understatement. I’m a little surprised, to be honest. It’s a very difficult thing for a home our size without corporate health (Piatt County is county owned) to achieve a four-star,” Porter said.
“The result of this increase in the star rating is solely due to the high level of care given by the staff, rather than any effort on the part of administration to obtain or increase the stars. I feel a lot of pride, knowing the rating increase came about entirely by making our residents the focus of everything we do. I am most happy for the staff because this increase sheds light on the absolutely phenomenal job they do every day. “
Porter told the county board nursing home committee on May 20 that having a memory care unit makes it even more difficult to net a high rating, because “medicine is always a big part of the score, and we’re always going to use more.
“Four stars for us is really good.”
CMS evaluates nursing homes quarterly using three categories:
1. Health Inspection Outcomes — This includes both the annual survey which is counted for the prior three years before dropping off of the rating, as well as any complaint or infection control survey that might have been conducted.
2. Staffing — The staffing rating has information about the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day by nursing staff. This rating considers differences in the levels of residents’ care need in each nursing home. For example, a nursing home with residents who had more severe needs would be expected to have more nursing staff than a nursing home where the resident needs were not as high.
3. Quality Measures (QMs) — The quality measure rating has information on 15 different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents. The QMs offer information about how well nursing homes are caring for their residents’ physical and clinical needs.
According to medicare.gov, Hickory Point Christian Village in Forsyth is the only facility within 25 miles of Monticello to earn a 5-star rating. Coming in at four stars are Piatt County, Clark-Lindsey in Urbana, The Arthur Home, Heritage Health in Mt. Zion, and Arcola Health Care Center.
Bement Health Care Center has a 3-star rating.
Furloughs taken by some Piatt County Nursing Home staff in the spring to help ease budget concerns have ended now that admissions are on the rise. At one point as low as 62 patients, the facility’s census is now closer to 80 as the COVID-19 pandemic eases.
“We have really seen a lot of interest lately,” Porter said.
The nursing has a rated capacity of 100, but its actual capacity is closer to 92 since the facility decided to limit three-patient rooms to two people each. Another room in the memory care unit was taken out of that number last year to be used as a Snoezelen multi-sensory room.