By David Jones, Volunteer Hotline Attorney
Nursing Homes are regulated jointly by the federal and State of Michigan governments. The federal government certifies nursing homes as eligible for Medicare and Medicaid payments.
The State licenses all nursing homes. Each has statutes and regulations/rules concerning this regulation. Each has useful websites. Below I discuss the main governmental websites and some nongovernmental websites.
The federal government has a key website through which you can compare nursing homes. This is run by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Extensive information about Michigan Nursing Homes is on this website. There is much useful general information such as the Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home, a Nursing Home Checklist, information about Medicare coverage in a skilled nursing facility, and how to file a complaint against a nursing home.
You can search for specific information on named nursing homes, and on all nursing homes in a geographic area (such as a county or city). If you choose to compare several facilities, it will give a quality comparison of them. When you then click on the name of a facility, it will also give you the address, phone number, directions to the facility, and miscellaneous basic information on the facility. Examples of such basic information are numbers of certified beds, participation in Medicare and Medicaid, and ownership. If you go to the “Star Rating Categories”, it will give information on various ratings. One of the most useful categories is “Health Inspection Rating.” There you can find copies of the most recent health inspection and complaint inspection reports.
There are two useful nursing home state websites. One is run by the Bureau of Community and Health Systems, which licenses nursing homes. The other is run by the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.
For the website run by the Bureau of Community and Health Systems can be found within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. There are twelve boxes each dealing with different issues. Each box deals with licenses of multiple types of community and health systems, so after clicking on the box you have to click on “nursing homes.” Among the most useful are “Look up a License”, and “File a Complaint.”
When you click on “Look up a License”, you can search for a specific nursing home or all nursing homes in a geographic area (such as a county or a city). For each facility, you can get miscellaneous basic information and a copy of the most recent annual survey findings.
When you click on “File a Complaint”, you can get detailed information on how to file a complaint and a complaint form to use.
The Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program has its own website. There are seven tabs across the top of the page, each with different information. For instance, on the tab marked “Home”, you can get telephone numbers, an email address, and a street address to contact for questions or concerns about a facility. You can also access certain useful “Fact Sheets”.
On the web, you can find a great number of nongovernmental websites with information on nursing homes. Here I mention two: the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website, and the Skilled Nursing Facilities Organization website.
You can also research nursing homes through AARP. Here you will find ten articles on nursing homes and links to other websites. Among the more useful articles are “What You Need to Know about Nursing Homes”, “How to Research a Nursing Home”, and “Nursing Homes: What to Ask”.
The Skilled Nursing Facilities Organization has numerous articles on nursing homes. Among the more useful are, “How to Find a Nursing Home”, “What to Look for When touring a Nursing Home”, and “Paying for Nursing Care”.