Nursing home's federal rating improves

URBANA — The Champaign County Nursing Home has improved to a three-star home as determined by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In its last quarterly rating the nursing home was a two-star facility. As recently as three years ago, it had only a one-star rating, according to nursing home manager Scott Gima.

The improved rating doesn't mean any additional state or federal funding, Gima admitted.

"But it's a sign that we're improving and that the trend line is in the right direction," Gima said following a meeting of the county nursing home board of directors.

He said he hopes the home can improve to a four-star rating within a year.

"If things go according to plan, maybe by the end of this year or early next year, we can get our overall quality rating to four stars," he said.

In the latest rating the home got four stars for staffing and "quality measures," that include mostly health measures. But it got just two stars for health inspections.

The federal ratings are determined not by a tour of the facility but by a compilation of other government reports.

"It's not a perfect system," said Gima," but for now it's all we have to go on."

Meanwhile, nursing home board member Don Lyn said Monday that he was concerned about staffing levels at the nursing home, especially on weekends.

"Why is it so different on weekends than on weekdays? I mean it's obvious," said Lyn, who has a family member at the home. "When they try to get the meals out, there's just no help there."

Gima acknowledged that there is a higher rate of absenteeism at the home on weekends and holidays.

"We're currently in negotiations with the union (representing nursing home employees) and we're looking at all aspects to try to improve our staffing on the weekends. That's as far as I'll go in an open session to talk to you about where we're going," he said. "But it's an issue I'm very aware of and I'm trying to work every angle to get that improved."

Also Monday, nursing home board members learned that the institution's average daily census remained strong in March and April, around 200 each month, for an average of 205 for the fiscal year beginning in December. The home also ended March with net income of more than $56,000, the fourth consecutive month in the black.

"I can't tell you the last time that we had four consecutive months of positive net income," Gima said.

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