Tower Hill Healthcare Center in South Elgin, Illinois. I wanted to find out how they earned the coveted 5-Star Medicare Nursing Home Quality Rating. Skilled nursing home care is provided to both private-pay and also quite a few Medicaid-qualified senior residents. (There are two certainties about State of Illinois Medicaid nursing home reimbursement: it is too little and always too late.) When I arrived in the lobby, I saw an award to 33-year-old Jeremy Amster called “The Friend of Seniors Award.” The award states that Jeremy’s leadership demonstrates “quality, creativity, enthusiasm, and care built into every life he touches.” Jeremy is the proud husband and the father of Avery, Naftali, and Adir. His office is an art gallery of the boys’ artwork. One of his sons told a friend, “My dad helps old people and does payroll.” The boys are frequent visitors who love to meet and greet the senior residents. One such visit coincided with the arrival one Sunday morning of some nursing home inspectors. The inspection team leader suspected that someone had “tipped off” Jeremy, and he was furious! Jeremy countered by saying, “Do you think I would be here with my 5-year-old son if I knew you were coming?” Jeremy is very involved in Chicago area Jewish community events. He tutors kids for their Bar Mitzvah lessons. He works long hours at Tower Hill—but on Fridays he leaves on time to celebrate the Shabbat. He quietly stated, “I believe that Orthodox Jews have the luxury of rest. From sundown Friday night until sundown on Saturday, my wife and sons know that I will be there for them. My kids know that no matter how busy I am, on Friday evening… Daddy is coming home.” Regarding the 5-Star Rating, Jeremy credited that award to the ownership and the staff. He humbly stated, “The secret to keeping great staff is to give people a place to serve and to be proud of. We have low turnover, strong loyalty, and our team believes in this place.” Later I asked Pam Hilderbrand, marketing director, and Jorie Gustafson, admissions director, what was the secret to the 5-Star Rating. They credited Jeremy and the ownership of Tower Hill. They all agreed when Jeremy said, “Most facilities have a box that all residents must fit in—but we shape our box to fit what our residents actually need.” Then they really got to my heart when they told me their “Christmas story.” “We don’t hold back when we give our Christmas dinner. Many of our residents will never again go home for the holidays. So we go all out! We lavish upon them. They are encouraged to invite two family members to join them for a sumptuous dinner complete with carving stations.” As I finished my investigation, it was obvious to me that Tower Hill’s success is due to acting in accord with the Golden Rule: “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) **For more information contact: Tower Hill Healthcare Center 759 Kane St. South Elgin, IL 60177 Phone: 847-697-3310 www.towerhillhealthcare.comThey say that when you meet a person, you know neither who they really are nor the path they have walked. I am grateful to introduce you to a very inspiring young leader, Jeremy Amster, a wedding singer and nursing home administrator. Recently I conducted my own personal investigation of
This blog is not about strangers lurking in an alley. Nonetheless, nursing homes are routinely “invaded” in the wee hours and weekends, because they are subject to unannounced night and weekend visits by trained teams of Medicare inspectors. These snoopy night stalkers show up and “camp out” in the facility for days. These teams have full authority to review and audit over 180 different items covering all major aspects of care in a skilled nursing facility. They inspect the buildings, the medical records, the residents, the cleanliness, the staffing hours per resident, and much, much more. These investigators are there to find deficiencies, note them, and report them to the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The report is used to provide a rating which is available to the public at the Nursing Home Compare website. The website lists each nursing home and assigns a quality rating between 1 and 5 stars. A 5-star nursing home is heavenly! Unfortunately, a 1-star nursing home is a probably a living hell. CMS has created this rating system to help seniors and their loved ones see behind the scenes and beyond the nice décor to find a safe and nurturing care facility for a frail senior. The most coveted score is a 5-star Medicare quality rating. That score is received by only 10% of all skilled nursing home facilities. There are very few facilities who receive such an award even when they are in the luxury market. It is even more impressive when a facility which accepts Medicaid residents qualifies as a 5-star-rated Medicare facility. Recently Tower Hill Healthcare of South Elgin, Illinois announced in their newsletter that they had received a 5-star award. I was impressed! Tower Hill is a 206-bed Medicaid-certified skilled care facility with a 31-bed Alzheimer’s wing. In my next blog, you will be introduced to a 33-year-old orthodox Jewish synagogue cantor and wedding singer, Jeremy Amster, whose leadership skills have earned the 5-star rating.