Benedictine achieves highest rating in industry
For Lisa Kern, achieving a five-star rating is a milestone that is especially gratifying.
Kern has been with the same care center organization that has gone through many changes over her 28-year career and never before has reached a five-star status. That’s until last week.
The Benedictine Living Community in Owatonna has attained a five-star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the highest rating given out in the industry. Benedictine started decades ago as Cedarview Care Center and in more recent years it was known as KODA Living. Benedictine Health Systems became involved several years ago, but didn’t change the name from KODA to Benedictine until last year.
Kern, executive director of Benedictine, is pleased to have the group’s quality improvement efforts recognized by CMS. “Our associates are dedicated to providing quality care every day, and our efforts to enhance the care we provide every day have made a demonstrated difference, not only for those in our care, but to those who evaluate our performance,” she said.
The Five-Star quality rating system was developed by CMS as a simple way for consumers, their families and caregivers to compare nursing homes and to help identify areas they may want to ask questions about. The Nursing Home Compare website ranks each nursing center with one to five stars for an overall rating as well as a separate rating for health inspections, staffing levels and quality measures that cover 15 different physical and clinical quality measures for residents.
While Nursing Home Compare offers a lot of information, Kern advises families to also consider their loved one’s needs and important considerations such as location and special services that are available.
“And before you make that important decision, we really encourage you to visit the nursing centers you are considering,” Kern said. “No website can capture the feeling of home in the building, the smiles on faces of compassionate caregivers and smells and taste of homemade meals.”
Upon learning of the rating last week, Benedictine celebrated with its 140 employees with gold and silver star balloons and cookies. Kern emphasized that the rating didn’t come without the hard work of all the employees.
“We continually strive for an excellent customer experience,” said Kern, who became the administrator in 2017. “This helps support and show our customers hard data about who we are,” she added.
Benedictine, which provides short-term rehabilitation and long-term skilled nursing care, is licensed to serve up to 79 residents. According to Kern, the facility has been operating at 96% capacity for many months.
Kern began working part time in social work with the nursing facility in 1993. She became director of social services in 2000 before taking on the lead role in 2017.
“I’m ecstatic that our hard work can be seen in black and white by the general public,” Kern said. “This has been hard work over many years.”