By: Ken Traub and Janet Gelein, Metro Justice Members and Co-chairs for the Elder Justice Subcommittee of Dignified Retirement
The Elder Justice subcommittee of Metro Justice compliments the Democrat and Chronicle and staff writer Patti Singer for the excellent series of investigative reports on the Blossom South nursing home.
It is positively shameful that this 1-star Medicare rated nursing home is among the worst in the nation and had been a “Special Focus Facility” for 27 months before the state Department of Health recommended to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that Medicare and Medicaid funds paid to the home be terminated. We believe that as a result of the public exposure generated by this newspaper, CMS acted within one week after receiving the
state recommendation and informed Blossom South’s administrator that funding would soon end. If it loses its court appeal, Blossom South would have to include as part of a closure plan how it would find appropriate and safe placements for current residents in other facilities.
In the process of investigating and selecting a nursing home, we recommend that a person’s first step should be to visit Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website, which can be found by doing a Google search for “Medicare Nursing Home Compare.” Then enter your ZIP code and click “Search.”
We strongly believe that when people evaluate nursing homes, they should reject any 1- and 2-star homes (Blossom South and the other two Blossom nursing homes have been 1-star homes for years) and only consider 3- to 5-star homes for further investigation.
On Aug. 20, Nursing Home Compare listed 35 rated homes in Monroe County that accept Medicare and Medicaid payments, with 18 rated 4 to 5 stars and 12 rated 1 to 2 stars. Hopefully, the community’s refusal to settle for substandard nursing homes for our loved ones will put economic pressure on homes such as Blossom South to institute rapid improvements in quality and staffing levels.
Traub is co-chair of the Elder Justice subcommittee of Metro Justice, and a state-certified long-term care ombudsman. Gelein is co-chair of the Elder Justice subcommittee and a geriatric nurse practitioner.
Photos by Annette Dragon.