WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The recent suspension of a Winston-Salem assisted living center has raised questions about the state’s “Star Rating” system pertaining to such facilities.
Documents show that on May 18, the state conducted an inspection of Cornerstone Living Center. On May 26, the state issued what they call a “summary suspension,” which suspended their license to operate no later than June 2, 2015.
On the 28th -- 10 days after the inspection -- the state Department of Health and Human Services website still showed the facility’s star rating as a three, on a zero-to-four star scale.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, this rating was first applied to the facility on June 23, 2014.
FOX8 went through previous inspections done by the state at Cornerstone. Dating back to February of 2009 (when the facility was the Reynolds House), the state had conducted 17 inspections there.
On eight of 17 occasions, it took the state over a month to update the facility’s star rating. On three of those eight occasions, it took the state over three months to adjust the rating.
On one occasion, the state did an inspection on Nov. 2, 2012 and did not update the star rating for the facility until March 28, 2013.
The full list of the aforementioned inspections can be found here.
State officials say once a final investigation report is issued to Cornerstone, they will adjust the star rating.
Those officials also wanted to stress that the “Star Rating” system is not the only avenue for individuals to research facilities. They listed four other options, which are as follows:
- Tour the Facility
A tour of the facility that you are considering allows you to take a first-hand look at different aspects of the physical environment such as cleanliness. It also gives you a chance to speak with staff and residents about the care and services offered at the facility to help you decide if it's the right fit for you or your loved one. While you are there, ask to see the facility's inspection reports, including any reports from the county department of social services and from the state. Facilities are required to make inspection reports from the past 12 months available to residents and families and prospective residents and families upon request.
- Contact your local County Department of Social Services
The county DSS adult services staff visit each adult care facility at least quarterly throughout the year and are a good source of current information. Ask your local DSS adult home specialist about the care and services provided, as well as any recent complaints made against the facility.
- Contact your local Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents in long-term care facilities. They provide guidance to residents and families on long-term care options in their area, how to select a long-term care facility that fits your needs and preferences, and provide information on Medicare and Medicaid programs. Ombudsmen can also provide information on the care provided in the facilities in their area, as well as recent complaints.
- Contact the Division of Health Service Regulation, Adult Care Licensure Section
Adult care homes are licensed and inspected by the Division of Health Service Regulation (DHSR), Adult Care Licensure Section (ACLS). To request a copy of a facility's most recent inspection, send an email to: DHSR.AdultCare.Questions@lists.ncmail.net.
For the state’s breakdown of their “Star Rating” system, click here.