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Ohio's Nursing Homes Among Lowest Rated

Ohio’s Nursing Homes Among Lowest Rated

Originally published on Mar 22, 2017

Ohio’s nursing homes are among lowest rated in the U.S. for quality of care according to an article published by Brian Lee, a national authority on nursing home care, for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

According to a review of the inspection reports, dozens of Ohio residents in nursing homes have died over the past few years in incidents involving their care. A federal statistical measure rates many of Ohio’s nursing homes among the nation’s lowest in quality of care.  According to Brain Lee, it’s a real crisis for Ohio’s elderly residents.

Some Ohio’s nursing home administrators and advocates say the rating system is flawed because, among other things, it punishes facilities that take in the most seriously ill residents.

But national experts say the rating system, known as Nursing Home Compare, does make adjustments based on the severity of a resident’s illness. They also say there are many skilled nursing homes that do a good job of providing care, despite limited resources.

In Ohio though, nursing home care is far from ideal, said Lee, who leads a Texas-based national advocacy group called Families for Better Care. “It’s a shock to consumers about the lousy nursing home care there is in Ohio until the federal data hits them in the face,” he said.

Over the next several months, The Plain Dealer will be continuing to examine the state of Ohio’s nursing homes, the rating system used to judge them, and the steps consumers can take to choose wisely among them.

Results so far for Ohio’s nursing homes

During three months of study so far, reporters found that:

Nearly 41 percent of the facilities in Ohio earned a below-average rating of one or two stars on the federal Nursing Home Compare standard, as of Dec. 1, compared to 35 percent nationally.

  • At least 31 Ohio nursing home deaths in the last three years were attributed by authorities to issues of care. Residents’ lawyers argue the number could be far higher because they depend upon self-reporting by nursing homes.
  • Ohio’s minimum staffing rules are relatively lenient. Facilities in the state are required to make available 2.5 hours a day of nursing staff time for each resident. Florida and California require much more.
  • Ohio requires only 75 hours of training for the aides who provide much of the care in a nursing facility. California requires 150 hours.
  • Many states have given themselves the ability to fine nursing homes that violate their standards. In places like California, state fines are used to strengthen nursing home inspections. Ohio doesn’t fine nursing homes. Instead, it recommends a dollar amount to the federal government, which sets and collects the fines. A portion of the fines is returned to the state.
  • Nearly 30 percent of Ohio’s 963 nursing homes were fined $6.37 million in the past three years.
  • Ohio has one inspector for every six nursing homes. Michigan, Kentucky, and Illinois have one inspector for every four facilities.
  • Four out of five nursing homes in Ohio are operated by for-profit organizations. For-profit facilities are more than three times as likely to be ranked at the bottom of the federal Nursing Home Compare scale and are half as likely to earn a top rating.
  • Home operators in Ohio say Nursing Home Compare is an imperfect measure of performance. It takes into account staffing levels, inspection reports and quality of care, but it does not account for things like resident satisfaction. The Plain Dealer, however, found that questionable resident deaths tended to occur more frequently in lower-rated homes.

Questions of care already are hugely important in Ohio. If its nursing homes were gathered into a single city, their 75,000 residents would rank eighth in the state in population, somewhere between Parma and Canton. Medicaid spends about $2.7 billion a year to care for 50,000 of those residents; for those paying privately, costs can exceed $8,000 per month.

Those numbers will rise over the next 20 years, as the population of residents aged 65 and older is expected to jump by 45 percent.

Outside experts say the state is starting from a position of weakness.

This information and further in-depth detail were obtained from an expansive article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer by John Caniglia and Jo Ellen Corrigan.

Over the next several months, The Plain Dealer will be continuing to examine the state of Ohio’s nursing homes, the rating system used to judge them, and the steps consumers can take to choose wisely among them.


To learn more about your legal rights as they pertain to elder care abuse in Ohio’s nursing homes, contact the expert personal injury lawyers of Dworken & Bernstein 

In Lake County, call 440.946.7656 In Cuyahoga County, call 216.861.4211

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