After Masonic Home of Louisville was fined $413,173.00 by the Federal Government for safety violations in 2013, nursing homes in Kentucky continue to perform poorly in the eyes of the Federal Government. Kentucky has had three nursing homes fall within the top 15 highest fined nursing homes in the country. Princeton Health and Rehab Center in Princeton, Kentucky, the fourth highest fined nursing home in the country, racked up Federal fines of $560,138.00. Two other nursing homes in Kentucky, Charleston Health Care Center and Tradewater Point were fined $486,071.00 and $483,600.00 respectively.
Unfortunately, the heavy fines were not limited only to nursing homes in Kentucky. The neighboring state of Tennessee was also hit especially hard with sanctions. Four nursing homes in Tennessee landed in the top 15 of highest fined nursing homes in the country. Bradley Health Care and Rehab came in at number one in the nation with a whopping $693,250.00 in fines. Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Maryville was also in the top 15 with $543,383.00 in fines. Other offenders include the Center on Aging and Health ($504,335.00) and Fort Sanders Sevier Nursing Home ($498,355.00). Together, Kentucky and Tennessee combined account for 7 of the top 15 highest fined nursing homes in the country and 20 of the top 50 highest fined nursing homes. The rankings and information can be found at https://data.medicare.gov/Nursing-Home-Compare/Penalty-Counts/t8q7-k6ku.
The federal fines are not the only sign of poor performance by nursing homes in the region. More than 35 nursing homes in Kentucky alone were given a 1 out of 5 star rating by the Federal Government. This places them in the much below average category for overall rating, which is based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Choosing a nursing home for yourself or loved ones is a difficult process but there are means available to make the search easier and more fruitful. The federal government provides a nursing home comparison website which allows you to compare the benefits and scoring of up to 3 different nursing homes at a time. This tool can be found at http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html.
It is also important to conduct personal visits to the nursing homes when considering which is the right fit for you or your loved ones. During the visit it is important to look at the more apparent things like the general cleanliness of the facility and the quality of the equipment and food. More obscure but equally important things are also a tell tale sign of quality. These include the amount of patients in each room, the ratio of staff to patients, the ratio of actual nurses compared to certified nurses assistants, and the general demeanor of the staff. If the employees of the facility are willing and accommodating with tours and questions it is less likely that they are hiding low quality care that can be detrimental to your loved ones. The most important aspect of the visit is to ask any and all questions you may have and be inquisitive as to the care that the center provides. With these in mind, you can feel assured that the care being provided is the quality necessary to make your or your loved ones stay at the nursing home safe and comfortable.