North Dakota has been getting high marks in recent years for the economy, low unemployment and various aspects of the quality of life here. The state also ranks high for what its residents experience at a certain stage in life.
Many people don't often think about the quality of nursing homes -- but if you need those services, a new report says North Dakota is a good place to be. According to a recent study, North Dakota has the second lowest rate of serious deficiencies per nursing home measured over the last three years. South Dakota is fourth. The one serious deficiency in North Dakota, which occurred in Hettinger, did not result in a fine.
North Dakota's good results are said to be attributable to North Dakotans themselves. "I've met pretty much all of the staff that work in the nursing homes and find them to be a very caring group of people and they do have a mindset that they want to do everything right," says
Bruce Pritschet, Director of North Dakota Division of Health Facilities. "They work hard if we do have to make a citation, they work very hard on a plan of correction to correct it to see that it doesn't happen again."
Augie Pepple, Administrator of the Baptist Home, Inc., says North Dakota nursing homes are in it for the right reasons, and notes "79 of the 83 facilities in the state are non-for-profit -- church-sponsored, community-sponsored, sometimes a combination of those resources. They are in it for the right reason. They are here to take care of people. Money is not the bottom line, although we need to have a bottom line to maintain."
In addition to this independent study, which uses information compiled by Medicare and Medicaid, the North Dakota Department of Health conducts annual surveys of each nursing home in the state. "We do look at quality of care, in fact, that is our focus of the survey is quality of care," says Pritschet. "We do have some environmental things we look at. There is a life safety code survey that's done in conjunction with the health portion of the survey, but our focus is quality of care."
According to the independent study, the highest rates of serious nursing home deficiencies were found in Kentucky, Louisiana and Arkansas. The figures in the study were compiled by ProPublica and are updated monthly. Results can be viewed at their website -- www.projects.propublica.org/nursing-homes.