skilled nursing

Gloria Lopez, clinical manager of the skilled nursing unit at Sierra View Medical Center, listens to a speaker Friday during a celebration of the unit receiving a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Skilled nursing unit recognized

The Skilled Nursing Unit of Sierra View Medical Center has joined some lofty company after earning a perfect 5-Star rating from Medicare.

The top rating was recently announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and last week the hospital, especially the Skilled Nursing Unit, celebrated.

“This (rating) recognizes the incredible work the entire staff has done,” Jeffrey Hudson, director of nursing for Sierra View, said Friday when the staff was recognized.

The 35-bed unit has been part of the hospital for more than two decades, and Hudson said it operates at capacity at all times. It is for patients who no longer require acute care, but still need extended nursing care or rehabilitation. He said about 60 percent of the patients in the unit are on a ventilator.

“Most skilled nursing facilities don’t take patients who need a ventilator,” Hudson said, explaining that is why their unit is so heavily utilized.

The overall rating was based on three measurements: health inspection; staffing; and quality measures including outcomes and quality of care. The hospital was given a three on health inspection, a four on staffing and a five on quality measures. It scored higher than the national average in 12 of 14 categories.

“We’re very proud of it,” said Arcadio Santos, director of the Skilled Nursing facility.

Hudson said Santos was key to the hospital receiving the top rating.

“Arcadio stepped up into the leadership role in December of 2013 and he has led this unit through three surveys,” he said. “Under his leadership, this unit has done very well.”

Santos thanked the hospital administration for its support. “We really feel their presence. Knowing we have their support, makes it easy to do well,” he said.

Kent Sorrells, board president, praised the staff.

“This is one of those times it’s fun to be on the board,” he said Friday. “It’s great to see this and be part of an organization that has five stars.”

Gloria Lopez, clinical manager for the unit, said the average stay of a patient in the unit is about 18 months, but they have one patient who has been there 18 years. The unit is similar to a convalescent hospital, but the level of care is slightly higher. The unit has a staff of 65.

Everyone agreed the challenge now is to keep the rating. “Knowing we’ve reached this, we know how to maintain it,” Santos said.

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