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Nursing home info now on the Web

Information on nursing homes across Ohio are now accessible by the Worldwide Web.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Information on nursing homes across Ohio are now accessible by the Worldwide Web.

The Ohio Department of Aging has started a new Web site where consumers can check out the status on Ohio’s 999 long-term care facilities.

Consumers can find answers to several issues facing those choosing a nursing home. The Web site allows consumers to receive a side-by-side comparison on various nursing homes.

Consumers can find answers to these questions and nursing homes they may be considering at what the state is touting as the new one-stop Internet shopping guide.

The guide, which costs $1 million and is online at ltcohio.org, consolidates information from several public sources. State officials say it will simplify the task of choosing a nursing home.

Consumer and industry groups worked with the state to build the site, which has searchable profiles of each nursing home, including customer satisfaction surveys, accepted payment methods and available services.

Kathleen Lemaster, a registered nurse and the director of nursing at Bryant Health Center, said that she thinks the new Web site is a good idea. She said it will give consumers a tool to compare which nursing home will offer the services needed by the client.

The Legislature approved the project in 2000 and said the guide was to be online last August. The department received an extension after officials realized they couldn’t build the database or design the Web site.

"It may look like there are some holes, but it’s a work in progress," said Joan Lawrence, the Department of Aging’s director.

The site already includes all information the law required the state to post, including some Ohio Department of Health records, such as whether a facility met certain regulations during inspections.

Only 20 percent of the facilities have entered information into their profiles. That’s not surprising, Lawrence said, because the homes only have had a few weeks to access the site. They are not required to submit the information.

Also missing are family surveys from all homes, because a third of them refused to participate. Also, no resident surveys are posted because only half are complete. The rest are to be finished by fall.

The guide also won’t include information that officials had said would make it more comprehensive than nursing home guides in other states – state and federal measures of the quality of care the homes provide.

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On the Net:

http://www.state.oh.us/age/home.htm