Virginia’s Best Nursing Facilities

by James C. Sherlock

This is part 4 of a series on nursing homes in Virginia. Part 1 here Part 2 here, Part 3 here. curates and publishes a system of nursing home assessments that is outstanding in both design and execution.

As discussed in earlier parts of this series, Virginia has far more bad nursing facilities than it should, but the Commonwealth also has more than its share of outstanding ones.

Fifty-two of 289 are rated five stars by CMS. Only 10% of the nation’s nursing homes achieve that rating. Eighteen percent of Virginia’s.

We’ll look at those best-of-breed facilities.

Star ratings. The overall score for each facility combines individual ratings for health inspections, staffing and quality of care measures that are very sophisticated and data driven. There are equally sophisticated measures in place to assure data quality.

The star rating is not a one-off. Each rating reflects multiple inspections over time and several years worth of data.

I am a skeptic of all things government, but I have examined this rating process as it has evolved over the years. It is coordinated annually with representatives of the industry. As I wrote, it is worthy of your trust.

Please note that the overall star ratings are by design dominated by the results of the CMS inspections done by the Virginia Department of Health, the last of which may or may not be recent. You can see the date of the last inspection and even the report of that inspection on the CMS pages.

You will see on a page that I have pre-sorted for Virginia five-star nursing facilities that some of them are short of staff. Since staffing is a leading indicator and is updated quarterly on that site, it is worth asking questions if the staffing rating is poor.

We will sort The Commonwealth’s highest rated nursing facilities by location, by ownership type and whether or not they are within a continuing care retirement community or stand-alone.

Five-Star Facilities by Location

As seen in the link, five-star nursing facilities in Virginia are generally less likely to be located in the Northern, Central and Eastern regions with high density populations. Only 23 of the 52 are in those regions — not a good match with need for local nursing facility solutions.

Five-Star Facilities by Ownership Type. Of the 52 five-star facilities shown in the link:

  • Four are government-owned: three by the state and one by Orange County;
  • Thirty-six are non-profit, nine of which are church-related; and
  • Twelve are for-profit. Showing that it is feasible to make money and provide the highest levels of service.

Five-Star Facilities within a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Exactly half (26) of the best nursing facilities in Virginia are within continuing care retirement communities.

The retirement communities are beyond the means of many.

But people not living there full time can often get access to their nursing facilities, especially the skilled nursing facilities needed for post-hospitalization care. That is mostly paid for by private insurance or Medicare, seldom Medicaid, and is profitable. So if they have space, they will likely take those who need it.

Ask them.

Bottom line. There is no shortage of outstanding nursing facilities in Virginia, though with the laws of supply and demand you or your loved ones may not be close to one to which you can gain access.

Remember also this is a snapshot. Always check back when the time comes.

That said, five stars are very hard to achieve.

Congratulations to the best.