Local nursing homes earn top ratings

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Two Covington County nursing facilities received five-star overall ratings from the U.S. News and World Report this week.

Opp Health and Rehabilitation and Florala Health and Rehabilitation scored the five-star ratings.

To help families choose a good facility, U.S. News collected meaningful data and ratings of nearly every nursing facility in the United States, and built from that a searchable database designed to highlight the highest-rated homes likely to meet each user’s needs.

“Using trustworthy data, we’ve built a consumer-friendly tool to help seniors and their families confront one of life’s most difficult and anxious transitions,” said Avery Comarow, Health Rankings Editor for U.S. News. “Best Nursing Homes makes it easier for consumers to identify nursing homes that can best meet their needs in terms of location, quality of care, staffing, and more. All seniors deserve the best nursing care available, and we’ve made sure the information they need is at their fingertips.”

U.S. News used data from Nursing Home Compare, which is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to create the Best Nursing Homes list, awarding the designation to facilities that recently earned an overall five stars – the highest rating CMS gives.

The study checked for three criteria: state-conducted health inspections, nursing and physical therapy staffing and quality medical care.

This is the fifth year the organization has compiled this list.

Officials at the local nursing facilities said the rankings are important and quite the accomplishment.

“It’s a big deal for us,” said Opp Health and Rehab marketing director Vicki Stricklin. “We’re just taking care of our residents. We have a good staff, and some of them have been here for 30 years. They really love what they do.”

Gina Spears, marketing director at Florala Health and Rehab, said her facility received the same award last year.

“We really focus on quality care,” she said. “We do everything we can to keep the building clean, keep appropriate staff and address any issues that family members may have. We do everything we can to take care of our residents. It’s exciting for us.”

Spears said that surveys are sent home to family members and others who enter the building as part of the study to gauge family’s perception of the care their loved ones receive.

“Our award last year said that more than 15,000 homes were rated,” Spears said. “A five-star rating is not something that a lot of homes get.”

Andalusia Manor received three stars overall; Elba Nursing Home and Georgiana Health and Rehabilitation both received four stars.

“The five-star rating is a guide for loved ones searching for a facility, but an onsite visit would help loved ones know the surroundings and staff to help make the right decisions when looking for nursing home placement,” said Sasser Enterprises Director of Operations SalLee Sasser-Williams. “A three-star is considered an average rating of data compiled over several years. It takes the government time to process and update the data. Andalusia Manor has and always will be resident and community-centered.

“As region 8 director for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, it speaks volumes that the nursing facilities in our surrounding areas are all meeting the standards of quality care for our loved ones,” she said.