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Osakis Voices: Survey confirms Galeon's high level of care

Happy New Year from everyone here at Galeon!

I am so pleased to share of the great accomplishment of our staff here at Galeon.

Toward the end of 2017, Community Memorial Home underwent its annual health inspection by the Minnesota State Department of Health.

Ask any long-term-care employee if they have had "state" yet and you will probably get a nervous smile/giggle or maybe even another emotion/reaction that cannot be shared. For those of us who work in long-term care, the anticipation of the annual surprise visit from the health department brings many nervous emotions.

State surveys are required for any nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Nursing homes are required by federal law to undergo an annual survey and certification process by its state's health department. Homes must be in substantial compliance with Medicare and Medicaid requirements.

State surveys generally last three to five days. During the week, state surveyors are out interviewing residents about the care they receive, talking with families regarding how they feel their loved one is being taken care of and any concerns they may have, asking staff about policies and procedures, questioning staff as to why they handle situations and problems in certain ways and observing first-hand how care is being performed. Ideally, they are ensuring residents are receiving the care and services they need to meet their highest practicable level of functioning.

If a nursing home is found to be in violation of nursing home regulations, depending on severity of the deficiency, the state department can institute a wide variety of penalties, including denying payment for new admissions, fining the home, revoking Medicaid and Medicare certifications, etc.

If the annual survey finds a nursing home is deficient because it doesn't meet a requirement of the federal nursing home regulations, the deficiency is recorded in a survey report given to the facility with an expected plan of correction to come from the facility as to how they will correct it. Deficiencies alleged by staff, residents or family members must be confirmed through records, interviews and observations. Once a survey team determines that deficiencies exist, it decides the seriousness of the violations. It looks at whether the deficiency status constitutes immediate jeopardy or actual harm, as well as whether the deficiency is isolated, constitutes a pattern or is widespread.

Community Memorial Home received three very minor deficiencies, all of which were considered isolated issues. All of these concerns pointed out where fixed immediately and approved by the department of health. Survey results with this outcome show the wonderful and caring staff we have here at Galeon. State surveyors complimented the great care that our residents receive.

I am so proud of the great team I get to work with! Great job team!

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Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts on their field of expertise.