How to Find and Read Georgia Nursing Home Surveys

Categories: Resources

Crack the code on Georgia nursing home surveys – vital for your loved one’s safety. Ever felt lost? Learn how to navigate the system and make informed decisions for your family’s well-being. In this week’s episode, nursing home abuse attorney Rob Schenk discusses straightforward ways to access and interpret Georgia nursing home surveys, ensuring you have the knowledge to choose the best care for your loved one.

How to Find and Read Georgia Nursing Home Surveys 

SCHENK:  How to find and read Georgia nursing home surveys. Stick around.

Hey out there. Welcome back to the nursing abuse podcast. My name is Rob. I’m going to be your host for this episode. Like our second episode back. So we’re just, we’re getting our, we’re getting our stride here. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about how to search online for Georgia nursing home inspection reports, the surveys that are taken every year, or if there’s a complaint made, how to get those.

What Are Nursing Home Surveys?

Let’s get into it. So first, the first things first is what is a nursing home survey? What is an inspection? What are these documents? So typically under the federal regulations and under Georgia regulations, the Georgia nursing home must have someone from the  Department of Community Health come and inspect that facility, at least on an annual basis, more or less annual basis, it’s okay that it’s not necessarily every year.

It can be a little bit longer than a year. Or. In response to a complaint by an individual resident or residents the Department of Community Health will come in and do an inspection. So typically you’re dealing with surveys, inspections. These are the two reasons why you’re going to get a report that we’re going to look at.

That’s what we’re going to do. That’s what they are. So typically why they’re important is they’re going to tell you certain things. They’re going to tell you whether or not the nursing home has violated either a federal regulation or Georgia regulation, most offensive federal regulation. And whether or not the violation of that regulation is going to put anyone in danger.

Why Nursing Home Surveys Matter?

And if it is going to put someone in danger, is it. Facility wide, or is it that particular person kind of the level of harm that’s being done by the violation that specific regulation. The other thing that it’s going to tell you is how the Department of Community Health got there. In other words, Typically, and again, it depends on who the surveyor is, how well the investigation is going to go or how well the investigation is going to be articulated.

But it should tell you on such and such a date, we went to the facility and this is what we discovered after interviewing nurses. After interviewing residents, after looking at the chart, this is how we came to the conclusion that this particular violation of the regulations occurred. So you’re gonna get a lot of really useful information about how the nursing home is run.

So a particular disclaimer about this though, folks, is that this isn’t the whole story, and I don’t and again I’m not intending this podcast necessarily to be fair. To everybody. Again we’re from a consumer standpoint, from we’re coming at you from a resident standpoint. But there are various aspects to consider.

Essentially, if the facility is found to have violated a regulation, they get an opportunity to correct the violation. Those documents are called Plans of Correction, and they also get filed with the Department of Community Health. But typically, at least in my experience, those aren’t as easily found on the website that we’re going to go to.


Just because you see that there could be a potential violation, that Puts people in immediate danger, that might ne that danger might not necessarily still be the case because the nursing home has corrected that behavior, corrected that policy, et cetera, et cetera. To the extent that in your own investigation after you learn what you learn from this particular podcast, doesn’t necessarily mean that the facility is still engaged in that bad behavior.

They have a chance to get a correction. And actually that gives me an idea for another podcast episode is how to request the plans of correction. Because that’s publicly available information and you can make an open record request to get the communication between the facility and the government with respect to that violation.

Finding Nursing Home Surveys Online

So we’ll deal with that in another episode. So let’s go online and let’s talk about where we are going to find. inspection reports and surveys for Georgia nursing homes. What we want to do first is there is a website that’s just a warehouse of information that you should be familiar with.

And that is So this is the nursing home compare website that we’re going to. The, if you Google nursing home compare, it might not be the top choice, but you want to go to medicare. gov. That’s where it’s going to be, but it’s nursing home compare. So it’s going to allow you to type in a location, which we’re going to put Georgia as this example, and then we’re going to, I’m not choosing this one for any particular reason but we’re going to go to Virginia park Pruitt health, Virginia park, only because this is a stone’s throw from my office.

Not necessarily because they’re doing anything in particularly wrong. Although at this time they have a one star. That’s another, that’s for another podcast. We’re only choosing this one because it’s right next to us. That’s the only methodology that I’ve used. I’m not saying this is a bad place, not definitely not saying it’s a good place.

This is just for the example in today’s podcast. So we’ve gone on to the nursing home compare website. We’ve typed in the location. We’ve found a facility. This is the particular facility that we want to look at for health, Virginia park, just by example. So we’re going to We’re going to scroll down and you’re going to see that there is a section for ratings and there’s a a section for health inspections and we can just click on view inspection results and then you’re going to see that if there was a recent inspection, this is where you’re going to find it and you’ll see Health inspection rating, most recent health inspection, and then the date.

And then you’re going to be able to click on that report. And you can see here that it’s telling you that there was six citations for this facility without even having to look at the report. It tells you that there’s, there was, Six citations. I’m at, I, we don’t know what those are. Those could be anything from, we don’t have a fire extinguisher at every door to who knows.

I’m not saying that these, this is a bad place. I’m not saying it’s a good place. But getting the inspections is literally as easy as clicking on nursing home compare, clicking on that facility and then clicking on the most recent inspection. The most recent survey. It’s super easy. What did that take us?

30 seconds. Typically nursing home compare will have surveys back to, I think, three years. Typically, you’re going to go bail. You’re going to be able to go back three years of reports. So every time the Department of Community Health has gone out to this facility, and made a report, you’re going to be able to get it up to three years ago.

If you want beyond that, you’re going to have to do an open records request, unless there’s some guru out there that knows more about it than I do, or some catalog online that I don’t know about. But for, as for me and my experience, if you want something older than three years, you’re going to have to do an open records request for it.

So this is how we do it. Nursing Home Compare. clicking on the inspection report and you got it. So let’s go to, let’s actually look at an inspection report. So now we’re looking at an inspection report. And again, if you’re listening to this, we’re going to do the best we can to kind of act like we’re doing radio and make it where you’re still going to be able to get something out of it.

Interpreting Nursing Home Surveys

You don’t have to be looking at it, but it would be helpful. So if you do want to look along with this, as we’re doing this, you can go. on our YouTube page or at Nursing Home Abuse, NursingHomeAbusePodcast and actually watch the video. So we are looking at a an inspection report. So this is not an inspection report for Pruitt Health, Virginia Park.

It’s a completely different facility. The name has been redacted. I don’t want to deal at all with any issues of defamation or anything. And Georgia has a special law where attorneys I guess anybody cannot use like inspection reports in advertising without doing certain things. I don’t want to run afoul of that.

That this facility will remain nameless. Any information that might be specific to this facility has been redacted. So it’s not Pruitt health, Virginia park. I promise you. Okay. The first thing you’re going to notice is that this is a basically a federal government form as opposed to a Georgia form.

And that’s a conversation for another day. I feel like the States I guess acquiesce oversight in some ways facilities, even though Georgia has its own regulations they use federal forms and I think they go through the federal motions. So this is a federal government form.

There’s it takes the form of just a it tells you the name of the facility, the street address, and the date that the survey was completed. And then you get down into the actual meat of it towards the middle of the page. So you’re going to notice there’s two columns.

So the column on the left is, contains what is called an F tag. There’s going to be the letter F. And then a series of numbers. And all this is saying is that this is a violation of a particular federal regulation. So you have thousands of regulations and then you have, probably hundreds of F tags.

So it’s just a, I guess how I would explain it is that it’s a simple way for the surveyor to mark which regulation is the problem. There are indexes where you can cross index the FTAG to the actual federal regulation, but typically the meat of the survey tells you which regulation was violated this is specific regulation.

Underneath the FTAG itself, you’re going to get the description. of the amount of jeopardy that there is in terms of how bad is the violation. So in this particular instance, it says level of harm, minimal harm or potential for actual harm residents affected few. So this is this particular F tag is found to not be very dangerous and not affect very many people.

So again, on the left category, the left side, you have the F tag, which identifies the actual reg or regulation that was violated and the level of harm and the number of residents that were affected. So the right column is called the summary statement of deficiencies. And essentially this tells you that It tells you what happened and then what their findings were.

In other words, how they violated it and what the findings were. So in this particular this particular statement of deficiencies it says allow residents to self administer drugs. if determined clinically appropriate based on observations, record view, interviews, and policy review titled resident independent self administration and medication assistance of medication.

In other words their, the facility’s policy about medication giving out medication. The facility failed to ensure one of 41 sampled residents. The violation of the PICS, the agreement that the the organizations had a physician’s order for self administration of respiratory medications prior to nebulizer medications being kept at bedside and self administered by resident.

Read more guides:
Who Regulates Nursing Homes in Georgia?
New CMS Staff Ranking Change Affects Star Ratings for Some Homes
CMS Tightens Nursing Home Rating Criteria.

So in this particular instance, the violation has to do with level of self administration of medication. So again, that’s why this was probably minimal harm for a minimal amount of people. And then you’re going to see that’s the summary of what they found. That’s the deficiency.

And then there’s going to be a findings. In other words, you’re going to see paragraph of what the surveyor literally found. Let’s see. For example, it says a review of the clinical record for resident number 96. And again, you’re never going to see names. You’re never going to see protected health information.

Everything is going to be either redacted or given an abbreviation. You’re going to see like nurse AA, resident 96, et cetera. The only way that you’re ever going to know who these people are is if you are, if you could read between the lines and know who they are, you get a HIPAA release and you send the HIPAA release in.

But that’s you’re just not going to know unless that’s how they get around hip, not get around. That’s how they fall in line with HIPAA laws is by not releasing the name of the residents. They give the residents numbers. So again, review the clinical record for our resident.

96 revealed resident was admitted to the facility on because again, that’s protected health information with diagnosis but not limited to congestive heart failure, respiratory disease, et cetera. Observation and interview on June 12th, 2022 AM resident. 96 was observed to have a nebulizer on top of his bedside table.

He said that he did his own nebulizer treatments during further interview. He stated, when I run out of medicine, the nurses bring me some more. And then you have an interview on June 14th at 10 25 AM licensed practical nurse. H stated that resident 96 self administers and inhalers and nebulizer treatment.

He stated resident keeps his nebulizer and medication on top of his bedside for convenience. He did confirm that there was no physician’s order for self administration. So that’s that’s the rub. There should be, there should have been a physician’s order saying he can self administer.

And so you have interview with the resident, interview with the nurses and then you have follow up interviews because this person, the surveyor came back. So that’s the, that’s the gist of this first one is that it takes up a couple of pages. Then you have here’s one it’s, this is the same survey.

You have another F tag, but here the level of harm is immediate jeopardy to resident health or safety. resident affected many. And so you’ll see here that it says honor the resident’s right to a safe, clean, comfortable, and home like environment, including but not limited to receiving treatment and supports for daily living safely.

Based on observations and interviews, the facility failed to maintain the facility at a safe temperature range of 71 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit on four of four hallways. during four out of five survey days. Additionally, the facility failed to maintain a home like environment for 24 of 63 rooms.

So in other words this place got, I think got super hot. If you read on the investigation, so, most of the time there’s not a lot of regulatory jargon. Again, they use F tags, for example, but. If the survey is done correctly, or at least I think if the survey is done correctly, in my opinion, you should be able to read and understand exactly what the problem is and exactly the factual basis in which they arrived at that problem.

Check out these podcast episodes and articles to learn more about nursing homes: Listen to the episodes:
CMS 5-Star Nursing Home Rating System
How to Read Georgia Nursing Home Inspection Reports
Who Regulates Georgia Nursing Homes?

Again, that’s gonna be done through interviews of the staff. It’s gonna be done through interviews of the residents, and they’re gonna also look at. The residents charts, if that’s appropriate, but you’re not going to see the charts, they’re going to look at the policies and sometimes they’ll actually say what the policies are in the the report.

So it’ll say the policy of this facility is to X, Y and Z. And they didn’t meet that policy, et cetera. I guess the takeaway for this episode is going to be that getting and reading these reports. Is in my opinion, fairly easy to do. Like I there’s not a lot of experience you have to have with suing nursing homes, for example, to be able to go online and get this and read it, how it’s important is you might see that there was a very recent survey and there’s a bunch of immediate jeopardy level severity high, and you might not want to put your loved one there.

So I guess how I would use this if I’m thinking about putting my loved one in a nursing home or my loved one is in a nursing home, is this would be a part of the process of shopping around. I’m not, again, I’m not saying that because there is a survey that in their citations that the citations are still relevant because the facilities typically need to do a plan of correction.

But that could be, that could factor into whether or not you want to put your loved one somewhere. The, there’s a wealth of information because and again, like I said, they’re fairly easy to read and sometimes when the nursing home staff is being transparent, they might say things like we’re short staffed all the time, or I don’t have time to get to every resident and that’s important information for you to know if you’re deciding between one nursing home and another so being able to get these documents, look over them

Shopping around for nursing home process I think that’s about all I can say about reading these surveys and inspection reports. Again, this is giving me the idea of maybe having a podcast about how to make an open records request for more information.

If you need help or aren’t sure what to do next, consider talking to an attorney who knows about nursing home care. They can guide you and help protect your loved one’s rights.