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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:13 p.m., Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Data helps consumers rank nursing homes

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Health Writer

Hawai'i consumers today got a new tool to help them compare the quality of the state's 45 nursing homes as part of an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Anyone interested in finding information about nursing homes can now easily look at a variety of measures of the care provided to the state's 3,752 residents of skilled nursing facilities, as well as similar information for nursing homes across the country.

Mary Rydell, Pacific Area representative for the Department of Health and Human Services, explained that the data includes information from government inspection of the facilities. It does not include smaller residential care homes.

"We've been collecting this data for over five years and we feel that consumers have more information about buying a car than they do selecting a nursing facility," Rydell said.

She encouraged people to use the data as a tool, visit facilities, ask questions of the state agencies that inspect, the administrators of the facilities and more.

The Web site lists information about inspections, about the number of deficiencies noted for a facility as well as comparison of other measures. The number of deficiencies listed for Hawai'i facilities ranged from 0 to 23.

People can view the detailed information on the Internet at www.medicare.gov and/or by calling a help line, (800) MEDICARE, (800) 633-4227.

Kathie Taylor, who works at Hale Kupuna Heritage Home on Kaua'i, said that nursing home operators welcome the ranking, which also comes with federal resource assistance to help improve deficiencies that turn up.