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Erie County Care Facility 'much below average'

Tom Jackson • Jan 13, 2013 at 5:10 AM

But there’s a glaring exception: The Erie County Care Facility, located at Osborn Park in Huron Township. It’s owned and run by Erie County’s government and is given an overall rating of only one out of five stars by the site. That’s a rating the site translates as “Much Below Average.”

The county nursing home is rated “Below Average” for health inspections, “Average” for staffing and “Much Below Average” for quality ratings.

Some of the common indicators for underperforming nursing homes aren’t present at the Erie County Care Facility. Inspectors found only a few deficiencies during the last inspection, and the

deficiencies weren’t major.

But Medicare spokeswoman Elizabeth Surgener said the overall one-star rating for the home is accurate and said it largely reflects the home’s poor score in quality measures.

A technical users guide says the five-star rating for quality measures is calculated using nine indicators.

Out of the nine, Erie County’s nursing home scores better than the state average for three but worse than the state average for six.

The home scored especially badly in three quality measures. More than 17 percent of its long-term residents had urinary tract infections, versus a state average of 8.3 percent and a national average of 7.6 percent.

The percentage of long-term residents reporting moderate to severe pain was 24.2 percent, versus an average of 13.6 percent for Ohio and 11.6 nationally. And the percentage of long-term residents who are physically restrained was 10.6 percent, versus 2.8 percent in Ohio and 2.2 percent nationally.

The home currently does not have an administrator, and the county commissioners are searching for one, commissioner Bill Monaghan said.

“We’re working on getting that addressed and getting our score up,” said Donna Patrick, director of nursing at Erie County Care Facility.

Patrick said by working with a quality improvement organization, Ohio KePRO, the nursing home has reduced the number of physically restrained residents to 3 percent. The nursing home also is working to reduce pain and urinary tract infections, she said.

The home may have a chance to raise its rating. This week, state inspectors were at the nursing home for an annual survey, and that visit should generate a written report in a few weeks. The health department’s report will be released as a public record after it’s been given to the nursing home, said Tessie Pollock, a spokeswoman for the department.

Monaghan said he was surprised to hear the county’s nursing home has such a low rating.

“I go there on a weekly basis,” said Monaghan, who said the building is kept in good shape.

“The place is immaculate. They do an outstanding job,” he said.

Monaghan said he also sometimes eats at the nursing home to make sure the food is OK.

Erie County’s nursing home is hindered by the federal government’s payment schedule, which classifies Erie County as a rural county but classifies Ottawa County as a metropolitan county, which receives better payments, Monaghan said.

“If we were classified the same as Ottawa County, we’d be getting half a million dollars more,” Monaghan said.

During the past decade, the Erie County Care Facility has lost about $3.8 million.

Pat Shenigo, another county commissioner, said county officials have worked hard to upgrade the center and the improvements are ongoing.

“We’re working really hard to bring ourselves into the 21st century,” he said.

The home will get an improved rehabilitation area, Shenigo said. That will attract Medicare patients, who receive a higher reimbursement rate than Medicaid patients, he said.


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