Nursing home ratings empower elderly, loved ones

Welcome to the new age of transparency for families seeking information about nursing homes.
Tom Jackson
Jan 3, 2013


Thanks to the Internet, anyone can find out which nursing homes get good ratings from regulators -- and which ones have gotten into trouble for health violations, been heavily fined or lost federal payments.

There are at least two websites useful for looking up nursing home inspections.

In Ohio, nursing home inspections are done by the state health department on behalf of the federal government. The federal government's Medicare site includes a website at for making comparisons of nursing homes.

A search for "Sandusky OH" provides a list for 10 nursing homes rated for quality. The site rates Great Lakes Transitional Care, 1912 Hayes Ave., as "much above average" in its overall rating for quality, with several other local homes rated "above average.", a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news site, has a website for obtaining nursing home information at It has a particular focus on helping visitors weed out bad nursing homes.

The online reports are helpful for nursing homes that get good ratings from regulators, said Brittany Dorsey, director of marketing for Parkvue Health Care Center in Perkins Township.

"When people come in, they have looked us up online first, at least our website, if they're not familiar with the Medicare site," Dorsey said.

Parkvue, which has 99 health care beds and and 87 residential living and assisted living beds, consistently gets good ratings from regulators.

If it's clear potential customers are looking at more than one nursing home in the Sandusky area, Parkvue officials will suggest looking up ratings on the Medicare site for comparing nursing homes,

Dorsey said, so they can get unbiased opinions from state surveyors.

ProPublica's online tool for looking at nursing home reports has some good news for north-central Ohio families who must face placing a loved one in a nursing home.

It shows that Ohio is a relatively good state for nursing home care. For example, Ohio nursing homes paid average fines of $8,128 per home during the last three years, compared to a national average of $11,300 and fines of $90,400 in Washington, the state with the largest fines.

Nursing homes in the Sandusky area fare well, compared to homes in other parts of Ohio.

Out of Ohio's 956 nursing homes, inspectors found 67 with serious deficiencies in about the last three years. Only one of the 67 -- Elmwood Nursing Home in Green Springs -- is in the Sandusky area.

None of the 47 homes that had Medicaid or Medicare payment suspensions over the last three years are in the Sandusky area.

The survey reports for the Elmwood family of homes in Green Springs has good news as well as bad. Elmwood Health Care Center at the Springs, 401 North Broadway, has enjoyed good inspection reports.

When the center received a deficiency-free rating in early 2012, it put out a press release announcing the results.

Jean Smith, administrator at the home, noted it also had zero deficiencies in 2010.

"Our staff and leadership teams are the best," she said. "They do such a wonderful job caring for our residents and patients."

But inspectors found more deficiencies at nearby Elmwood Nursing Home, 430 North Broadway St.

State surveyors from the health department found only four deficiencies at Elmwood Nursing Home in 2012. But in 2011, they found 19 deficiencies and levied a $7,800 fine. The nursing home was also fined $10,368 in 2009.

Some of the deficiencies cited in 2011 included failure to investigate the cause of injuries; failure to prevent bed sores; failure to keep the area free of accident hazards; failure to give each resident enough fluids to prevent dehydration; and failure to have a program to prevent infections from spreading.

Kathy Hunt, owner and CEO of Elmwood Centers, and Amanda Picciuoto, current administrator of the home, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Tessie Pollock, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said nursing homes often have changes in management and personnel, so it's not uncommon for ratings to vary from year to year.

"Our goal is to ensure compliance," she said.

When a nursing home receives a bad rating, the health department follows up.

"It is standard practice for a facility to submit a Plan of Correction to ODH and then for our surveyors to revisit and make sure the plan was put in place," Pollock said. "That usually occurs much sooner than a year."

State inspectors apparently felt that Elmwood Nursing Home was working with them. It was not flagged as a "special focus facility" -- a home with a history of serious quality issues -- nor did the federal government suspend payments to the nursing home, a step that's sometimes taken in serious cases.

ProPublica's website shows that a Toledo nursing home, Liberty West Nursing Center, has had three suspensions of federal payments in the last three years.



Know this:

The vast majority of residents cannot afford their nursing home stay and have it funded by Medicaid.

The avg. annual cost in 2012 was $90,520.00 (MetLife survey).

There are approx. 78 million baby boomers (born: 1946-1964) in this country. As they age, their escalating health care costs will help to bankrupt the U.S.


you mean 'country' not 'county' right? so should we be euthanized?


@ reporter54:

Typo - thanks.

Resources are not unlimited. Just pointing out the dollars and cents. Something to think about.

Euthanasia? How long before your "right to die" becomes your duty to die?


I think you will find in coming years the ability of individuals to take a pill rather than having a prolonged life in pain and in a nursing home.

I also believe the government will analyze each individual situation and grant or deny medical surgeries and procedures.

looking around

Make sure you have a living will, don't make others in your family make the hard decisions for you.


My insurance agent recommended Legal Zoom. Easy and inexpensive.

Last will & testament, living will and medical power of atty.

Got the agent's office staff to witness - free.


I use Legal Zoom for my personal and business needs and it's great. Another good resource is Business-in-a-box. It has boiler plates for just about any type of document you can think of for business and person needs.

Both products are considerably cheaper than a lawyer

Yellow Snow

Every one should have these legal documents. Give copies to your designated Powers of Attorney, but be aware, if you're dealing with the government, most of these agencies require the ORIGINAL document, even though your papers state "this is to be considered the same as a original"
None of these 3 documents protects your assets from the nursing home. Health and life insurance aren't coverage, only minimally for a few weeks with Medicare coverage. I've been going through this nightmare for the past 2 years. Wish I'd have known sooner what I've learned in the past two years.

Yellow Snow

No one anticipates putting a family member in a nursing home. Nursing home is not like going into a regular hospital, Medicare only pays for a few short weeks, then it's all out of pocket until your worth is$1,500. A spouse is allowed to keep the home and half of net value of total assets. There is a 5 year look back on all assets. There are legal ways to protect these assets, but you need to plan ahead. There are at least 2 Medicaid planning attorneys in Sandusky. It's an expensive process, but it allows your children to eventually have what you've worked and saved for all your life, instead of it all going to the nursing home within a few short months. I don't work for any of these attorneys, but used their services. Consultation is free, and if nothing else, it's worth the education on how this system works. Some offer free workshops to educate you on how the system works. Then make your choice. Even if your worth is $20,000 or $30,000 it's worth your time and effort. Check the advertisements on Serving Our Seniors magazine or online, you'll find these attorneys.

Julie R.

My mother back when she was competent spent months planning out her estate ---and she did everything right, too. Every single thing she did was criminally changed during the short time she was in a nursing home by attorneys and two financial institutions --- and what they did wasn't just criminal, it was vicious.

So don't tell me about attorneys in this area. Don't tell me about the crook financial institutions in this area, either.


Good information Yellow Snow.


My parents' money is my parents' money - anything that's left over is a bonus.

We tell our daughter: Hoping for an inheritance is not a retirement plan.

"God bless the child that's got his own." - Billie Holiday


You cannot take your money with you. The money one saved up should be used till its exhausted for care (if needed). When it runs out, then Medicaid should help out. Instead, we do it the opposite in so many cases by making the tax payer foot the bill, while greedy kids salivate over their potential money coming to them.


One of my favorites was former Sen. Carol Mosely Braun (D-IL), who moved $30K out of her mother's assets into her own pocket in order to get her to the level where she qualified for Medicaid and then "forgot" to declare it on her income tax.

For a time, I worked down the street from a funeral home. Not once did I see an armored car or a moving van in a funeral procession.

looking around

LOL @ Contango Like the lawyer who agreed to bury his clients total monetary assets with him.....he deposited it directly in his own account and slipped a check in his clients pocket before closing the lid!

Yellow Snow

Your money's going somewhere.
1. You spend and enjoy it.
2. You determine who will receive it, a nursing home, a family, or favorite charity.

Option1 is probably not going to happen. We all "save" to make sure we're self supporting, so it will then go to option 2. Three choices. Most nursing homes are for profit. Family, or charity, your choice. Now it becomes, Medicaid (charity) or a charity of my own choosing, family, church, or save the what-ever-you-want foundation.
Our taxes all support someone in line behind us, someone who other wise would be left in the cold. With proper planning, you decide where your worldly finances are distributed. Without planning government funnels it for you. I'm thankful for now, at least, I can make my choice, or choose to let the government make it for me. Bottom line, you can make a choice where it goes.

Julie R.

So if you're going through this nightmare now, is your elderly parent competent? If not, what kind of advice are you being given? Are you being told that new fraud power of attorneys and new fraud Wills have to be prepared? Are you being told that your parent's irrevocable trust set up ten or more years ago ~ that the spouse and Medicaid can't touch ~ has to be criminally changed at two financial institutions for the benefit of the wealthy spouse so he doesn't have to spend down half of their joint assets for Medicaid eligibility? Are you being told that your incompetent parent's half to property has to be fraudulently transferred over to the spouse and your incompetent parent's 4th beneficiary has to be defrauded on a new fraud TOD Deed?

That's the advice the two fraud power of attorney idiots from Huron were given.


Every freakin' night I wake up hearing the dead crying about where their money went. I wish they'd just shut the frip up.


During all this "fecal cliff" stuff, they kept talking about federal estate taxes.

People tend to forget that states tend to have their own "vulture taxes" on estates.


"On June 30, 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the 2012 – 2013 budget into law, which eliminates the Ohio estate tax effective for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2013. Ohio does not have an inheritance tax."

Julie R.

@ Yellow Snow: About the Medicaid planning attorneys from Sandusky that you are applauding --- is one of the attorneys a John Frankel? If so, isn't that the Sandusky law firm that the great big prestigious Lorain County law firm of Wickens, Herzer, Panzer, Cook, & Batista merged with in 2005? Before they merged with the Sandusky firm, didn't the retired Lorain County judge Joseph Cirigliano also join that big Lorain County law firm? Wasn't a McGookey also an attorney at the time in that Sandusky law firm? I believe he was because I know somebody that tried to hire Wickens & Panzer --- even gave them ten grand up front. After sending an attorney from the firm to go through records in the Erie County probate court, Wickens & Panzer then told this person that they couldn't take his case because of a conflict of interest. The conflict of interest was --- they said they were about to merge with a Sandusky law firm and one of the attorneys in the Sandusky firm was the husband of the Erie County Probate Court Judge Beverly McGookey. (????)

One might have to wonder why THAT would be a conflict of interest.