Originally created 11/21/02

City facilities get good marks



AIKEN - June Murff, the outgoing president of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, says it's no surprise that the city has two of the most outstanding nursing homes in the area.

In Aiken, Richmond and Columbia counties, Mattie C. Hall Health Care Center ranked second in the amount of time staff members spent per patient, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It also had only one deficiency listed in the centers' rankings, which were released last week.

The home with the highest amount of time spent per patient, the Gracewood NSG Facility in Richmond County, had deficiencies in nine areas of care.

Another Aiken nursing home, Carriage Hills, had no deficiencies. Only one other home in the three-county area, NHC Health Care of North Augusta, had no deficiencies.

Ms. Murff said that good nursing-home care is one of the things retirees look for. Aiken has ranked high in recent surveys of desirable retirement areas.

Nurses at Mattie C. Hall spent an average of 5.25 hours per patient per day in the past year. The national average was 3.8, and the state average was 3.9.

"I have to attribute it to our wonderful staff that we have here," said Vicki Major, the administrator at Mattie C. Hall.

She said providing a quality work environment has helped her retain caring professionals in a field that normally has high turnover.

South Carolina nursing homes averaged five deficiencies; the national average was seven.

Aiken's Pepper Hill Nursing Home had eight deficiencies, and Azalea Woods had six.

The survey's data came directly from the nursing homes, which provided it to the state agency that oversees Medicaid funding.

Among the six Aiken County facilities in the survey, the most deficiencies were found at the Anne Maria Rehabilitation and Nursing Home Center in North Augusta. It had 19, including failure to hire workers with no history of abusing or neglecting residents, failure to keep patients' medical records private, and a medication-error rate that exceeded 5 percent.

Officials at Anne Maria did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Aiken County nursing homes in study:

Anne Maria Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in North Augusta

Health deficiencies: 19

Average number of staff hours spent per resident per day: 3.64

Azalea Woods in Aiken

Health deficiencies: 6

Average number of staff hours spent per resident per day: 3.24

Carriage Hills Inc. in Aiken

Health deficiencies: 0

Average number of staff hours spent per resident per day: 3.95

Mattie C. Hall Health Care Center in Aiken

Health deficiencies: 1

Average number of staff hours spent per resident per day: 5.25

NHC Health Care in North Augusta

Health deficiencies: 0

Average number of staff hours spent per resident per day: 4.09

Pepper Hill Nursing Center in Aiken

Health deficiencies: 8

Average number of nurse hours spent per resident per day: 3.63

Reach Matthew Boedy at (803) 648-1395 or matthew.boedy@augustachronicle.com.