Archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Local nursing center earns high marks during inspection

March 28, 2001

A zero-deficiency survey is a rare thing.

But it's a good thing.

Last June, a month after Mike Bartholomees took over as administrator of Tonganoxie Nursing Center, the center's annual state survey showed 16 deficiencies.

Within a month those deficiencies had all been corrected, and last week, the nursing center learned the results of this year's survey zero deficiencies.

"This really is quite rare," Bartholomees said.

He said he'd been told by another nursing home administrator that the state just doesn't hand out zero deficiencies.

Mike Heideman, acting public information officer for Kansas Department of Health and Environment, agreed.

"It's not entirely unusual for us to note at least some lower-level deficiencies when we visit a facility," Heideman said. "We're quite pleased to see that Tonganoxie Nursing Facility had a deficiency-free survey."

Basically, Bartholomees said, the survey looks at the entire nursing center, including quality of care, how the facility handles any complaints or grievances, how the facility follows up on concerns from residents or their families and cleanliness.

The inspection also looks at compliance on paper, checking for documentation of residents' care.

"A zero-deficiency survey doesn't mean that the home is perfect, because there is no such thing in health care," Bartholomees said. "But what it means is there are systems in place to address any concerns or issues that come up."

On the other hand, he said the survey results indicated good patient care.

"It wouldn't be a zero-deficiency survey if quality care wasn't being delivered," he said.

The 15-year-old nursing center, which can handle 90 resident, currently is home to 74 people.

Residents range in age range from 34 to 100. The nursing center's annual charge for a semi-private room is $34,675.

Bartholomees said the local nursing center, which is owned by Beverly Health and Rehab, Fort Smith, Ark., may later this year renovate part of the building into a 24-bed Alzheimer's unit.

Bartholomees credited the nursing center's 70 full- and part-time employees for the success of the state inspection.

"The turnover ration nationally in this business is around 120 percent," he said. "Our turnover ratio so far this year is around 6 or 7 percent, so we're looking at maybe a 30 percent turnover rate for the year."

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