South Carolina residents in search of a nursing home for a loved one should know that the federal government provides a variety of data about local nursing homes online. It identifies a Columbia nursing home and another in Charleston as among the worst in the state.
PruittHealth Blythewood, located at 1075 Heather Green Drive in Columbia, is identified as a candidate for becoming a “special focus facility” by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). PruittHealth-Blythewood has a “persistent record of poor care,” according to a report in The State newspaper of Columbia.
Special Focus Facilities in South Carolina
Special focus facilities are nursing homes that have a history of serious quality issues and are included in a special program to stimulate improvements in their quality of care, the CMS says.
A special focus facility, or SFF, is visited by inspection teams twice as frequently as other nursing homes. After inspections, an SFF either improves, makes “promising” changes (like being sold to new owners), receives more time to improve, or is terminated from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which is the primary revenue source for most nursing homes.
Riverside Health and Rehab, at 2375 Baker Hospital Blvd., Charleston, S.C., has been in the SFF program for more than two years. It was on the May 16 list of “facilities that have shown improvement.”
In addition to PruittHealth-Blythewood, The State says four other South Carolina nursing homes are listed as candidates for additional oversight through the SFF program:
- Commander Nursing Center in Florence
- Blue Ridge of Sumter in Sumter
- Life Care Center of Hilton Head on Hilton Head Island
- Compass Post Acute Rehabilitation in Conway.
The State says PruittHealth-Blythewood was inspected October 5 and received a one-star rating and five health citations. It is described by CMS as “much below average.” The newspaper describes a portion of the CMS report about nursing home neglect leading to poor hygiene among several residents and hours-long delays when residents asked for help. The delays were attributed to the facility being short-staffed.
The report says the nursing home failed to provide appropriate pressure ulcer (bed sore) care and prevent patients from developing new bed sores. Bed sores are an indicator that a patient may be suffering from nursing home neglect.
In addition, the report said the facility failed to prepare and serve food under sanitary conditions in the main kitchen. That has the potential to affect 116 residents with ordered diets.
CMS fined PruittHealth-Blythewood $4,237 in March 2017 and $99,267 more in September, The State says.
“A spokesperson for PruittHealth and an administrator for PruittHealth-Blythewood could not be reached immediately for comment,” the newspaper said in its June 18 report.
Finding Information About S.C. Nursing Homes
The information about potentially dangerous nursing homes in South Carolina cited by The State came after two United States senators, Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, demanded that CMS provide the list of special focus facility candidates following two investigations into Pennsylvania’s nursing homes. The senators released the list to the public on June 3. Previously, only the names of special focus facility program participants were made public.
The State newspaper said that withholding the names of poorly performing nursing homes undermines the federal government’s commitment to transparency for families struggling to find nursing homes for loved ones.
There are several sources available online for information about nursing homes in South Carolina. If you are looking for a home for a loved one, you can start by gathering some basic information online.
Nursing Home Compare at the Medicare.gov website has detailed information about every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. This includes nursing home inspection results (like the report about PruittHealth-Blythewood), staffing levels, penalties that the federal government has levied against the nursing homes and how well nursing home residents were treated in specific areas of care. Read more about how Nursing Home Compare can help you.
In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Division of Nursing Homes conducts unannounced site visits to facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The Complaint Program has a special staff of surveyors who go to facilities for the express purpose of investigating complaints. Read more about DHEC nursing home programs and resources.
The nonprofit investigative journalism group ProPublica has a search tool that can be used to compare nursing homes in South Carolina and other states based on the deficiencies cited by regulators and the penalties imposed in the prior three years. Here is ProPublica’s guide to making the most of this tool.
The magazine U.S. News rated 15,000 nursing homes across the country and provides a search to find the best nursing home for you. In response to a search of “Columbia, SC,” it says: “There are 25 nursing homes in the Columbia, South Carolina, metropolitan area. Of these, 3 received an overall Top Performing rating.”
These are U.S. News’ best-rated nursing home in metropolitan Columbia:
- M. Tucker Jr. Nursing Care, 2200 Harden Street, Columbia, SC
- Kershaw Health Karesh Long Term Care, 1315 Roberts Street, Camden, SC
- NHC HealthCare – Lexington, 2993 Sunset Boulevard, West Columbia, SC
U.S. News also gives “Best Nursing Home” ratings to:
- NHC HealthCare – Parklane, 7601 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC
- The Columbia Presbyterian Community (Presbyterian Communities of S.C.) 700 Davega Drive, Lexington, SC
- Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community, 1 Still Hopes Drive, West Columbia, SC
- Heartland of Columbia Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, 2601 Forest Drive, Columbia, SC
Contact Our S.C. Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Our attorneys at the Joye Law Firm are focused on the safety of residents in nursing homes in South Carolina. If you suspect a loved one who resides in a nursing home is being neglected or abused, the nursing home abuse attorneys of Joye Law Firm want to help you. We can take steps to protect your loved one and hold the facility accountable for negligent treatment. When a family acts to protect a loved one from neglect or abuse, it often helps prevent other patients at a facility from being harmed.