From Staff Reports

The long-term care facility at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital recently received a 5-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Pictured, from left, are members of the staff: Barb Ambrose, CNA; Lisa Edwards, CNA; Karen Gingras, MDS coordinator; Sherry Gaddy, RN; Tammy Edwards, administrator; Julie Hickman, RN; Deb Baker, DON; Crystal Schmidt, RN; Chris Clark, LPN; Rachel Tilson, LPN; Debbie Wainwright, office coordinator. (Contributed photo)

The long-term care facility at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital recently received a 5-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Pictured, from left, are members of the staff: Barb Ambrose, CNA; Lisa Edwards, CNA; Karen Gingras, MDS coordinator; Sherry Gaddy, RN; Tammy Edwards, administrator; Julie Hickman, RN; Deb Baker, DON; Crystal Schmidt, RN; Chris Clark, LPN; Rachel Tilson, LPN; Debbie Wainwright, office coordinator. (Contributed photo)

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized Unicoi County Nursing Home with a 5-Star overall rating.

The 46-bed unit is Unicoi County Memorial Hospital’s (UCMH) long-term care facility, and offers patients a comforting environment with high quality care, according to a press release issued by Mountain States Health Alliance, the health system that owns UCMH.

“I’ve lived here for over a year now, and it feels just like home,” said Kent Masters, resident of Unicoi County Nursing Home. “I like all the activities – especially playing ball – and the people here. They’re like my family now. It really is a great place to live.”

In addition to a 5-Star overall rating, Unicoi County Nursing Home also earned a 5-Star rating for staffing. The facility’s administration director, Tammy Edwards, attributes the 5-Star rating to team members always going the extra mile for residents.

“Unicoi County Nursing Home has the best team of caregivers, and everyone has been instrumental in helping us reach this milestone,” said Edwards. “We strive to give our residents 5-Star care, and it is certainly rewarding to have achieved this recognition.”

CMS created the 5-Star rating system to help consumers, their families and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily. The organization collects information through various methods, including onsite inspections, resident assessments and staffing levels. CMS’ Nursing Home Compare website https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html contains information for all 15,000-plus Medicare- and Medicaid-participating nursing homes and allows anyone to compare information about nursing homes.

The site features a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have “much above average” quality, and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality “much below average.”

“Our long-term care provides the best possible care for our residents,” said Eric Carroll, administrator of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital. “This honor is earned through many years of continuous high quality. It is not one we take for granted and we will work extremely hard to retain it.”