Leah Horn's mother Barbara Winchell is currently in a nursing home that the family is very happy with but that wasn't the case about a year and a half ago.
“She couldn't get out of there quick enough,” Horn said. “It’s unacceptable because when you have someone there you entrust them to take care of them and a fall with the elderly, especially the elderly, can be life-threatening.”
After her mother fell at the facility, Horn was worried her mom might become injured or worse if she wasn’t moved.
“She was lucky. She could have really fallen and broken a hip,” Horn said.
Horn could have checked on how that facility stacks up against other nursing homes if she would have gone online.
The U.S. government has a website called medicare.gov. It rates nursing homes in several key areas such as quality measures, staffing, health inspection and overall rating.
The I-Team looked into that and based on the number of complaints lodged and fines levied, here are the ones the government was most satisfied with and least satisfied with dating to 2014.
These centers received top overall rating of five out of five stars:
Bay County Medical Care Facility in Essexville
Fisher Care and Rehab in Mayville
St. Francis Home in Saginaw
Tuscola County Medical Care Facility in Caro
Hoyt Nursing and Rehab in Saginaw
Linda Brown-Meyer is the administrator at Hoyt Nursing and Rehab in Saginaw. It’s a facility that's been in operation for 52 years. She said there's a simple way to get a top rating from the feds.
“The leadership, we've always been told if you keep the resident first and foremost you can't go wrong and I think that goes a long way,” Brown-Meyer said.
Now for the five facilities at the bottom of the list.
These facilities were selected on the basis of fines levied by the federal government over the past three years.
All have an overall rating of one out of five stars:
Caretel Inns of Tri-Cities was fined $8,061 in 2014
Medilodge of Frankenmuth was fined $16,154 over the past three years
Heritage Manor Healthcare in Flint was fined $21,125 in 2014
Genesee Care Center of Grand Blanc was fined $22,100 in 2014
Ovid Healthcare Center in Ovid was fined $81,550 over the past three years
So what to do if you are concerned about how someone is being treated at a nursing facility? Is there legal recourse? Carol Thomas is an attorney specializing in elder law in Saginaw.
“If someone in the state of Michigan has an issue with their nursing home where their relative is living right now they can contact the Ombudsman in Lansing. And actually every nursing home is required to post the phone number of the Ombudsman who they should contact,” Thomas said.
A nurse who works with the Saginaw County Division of Aging said Ombudsmen are busy these days.
“They'll go and visit the client, they'll visit with the family, visit with the administration and try to mediate the problem. If the problem can't be solved, it's pretty in-depth, then they'll go to the Bureau of Health Care Services,” the nurse said.
Meanwhile, Horn has a piece of advice if you're not happy with the way a loved one is being cared for.
“If you have a loved one in a facility, make sure there's communication. If you need to call every day to get an answer maintain communication with that place,” she said.
For the list of nursing homes and how they were graded, click here.