VA center nursing home in IM earns five-star rating

IRON MOUNTAIN –ì The nursing home at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center has received five stars as part of its annual performance ratings, the highest level on the scale.

“The five-star rating our nursing home received is a testament to the dedication of our employees to serving our nation’s heroes,” said Jim Rice, director at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center.

The data shows that, overall, VA’s nursing home system, which includes more than 130 community living centers, compares closely with private sector nursing homes even though, on average, they care for sicker patients than do private facilities.

Specifically, VA nursing homes serve a much higher proportion of residents with conditions such as prostate obstruction, spinal cord injury, mental illness, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, combat injury, terminal illness, and other conditions rarely seen in private nursing homes.

Also, private sector nursing homes admit patients selectively, while the VA will not refuse service to any eligible veteran, no matter the condition.

As a result, VA nursing homes at times rate lower than private sector facilities on specific metrics such as pain and type of treatment.

Yet the overall star rating for VA’s nursing homes compared with the 15,487 private-sector nursing homes rated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows the VA has a 34.1 percent lower percentage of one-star, or lowest-rated, facilities than the rest of the nation.

Of note, 60 of VA’s nursing homes improved their quality score from the second quarter of fiscal year 2017 to the same quarter in fiscal 2018. Only one facility had a meaningful decline in that metric, and that facility already had been rated with four stars.