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Pediatric Subacute Care Receives 5-Star Rating from Federal Agency

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Pediatric Subacute Care Receives 5-Star Rating from Federal Agency

Foothill Regional Medical Center’s pediatric subacute unit has been awarded five stars — the highest possible rating — by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It is one of 10 pediatric subacute programs in California, and the only unit in Orange County to receive five stars from CMS.

“We take pride in our work and getting this acknowledgment really lets us know that our hard work is paying off in terms of providing the best quality care for our patients,” said Dr. Gilbert Umnas, medical director of Foothill Regional’s pediatric subacute unit. “Our patients live here, and so we strive to make their experience as comfortable as if they were being taking care of in their own homes.”

Every quarter, the federal agency publicly releases quality ratings for more than 15,000 nursing homes certified by Medicare and Medicaid on its website, Nursing Home Compare. Each facility is given an overall rating from one star (lowest) to five stars (highest) based on health inspections, staffing levels, and quality of resident care measures. The tool was created to help consumers, their families, and caregivers more easily find nursing home care and determine whether a specific facility meets their needs.

Aside from a five-star overall rating, the Foothill Regional pediatric subacute unit also received a five-star quality measures rating, which is derived from clinical data reported by the facility. For instance, low percentages of residents with pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, or falls with major injury indicate to CMS that residents are being well-cared for. It also rewards flu and pneumonia prevention measures, such as giving residents flu shots for the current season.

CMS awarded the unit four stars (“above average”) for the health inspection rating, which compiles data from the three most recent state inspections and any recent complaint investigations. Lastly, it received three stars (“average”) for staffing levels, a measure that takes into account the number of hours facility staff are paid to work each day.

“Our five-star rating is a great testament to the staff and leadership of the pediatric subacute unit,” said Glenda Luce, Foothill Regional’s chief nursing officer. “It’s a publicly reported number, so when people in the community are looking for a place for their loved ones, they can see that our facility meets or exceeds expectations in every category.”

The 42-bed unit is the largest pediatric subacute unit in Orange County and has been in operation since 2000. It provides a warm, supportive environment with advanced medical care for children who are too ill or technologically dependent to receive care at home. The hospital-based program offers its medically fragile patients access to diagnostic services, such as lab work and X-rays, as well as other routine medical care on-site.

The Foothill Regional pediatric subacute unit is currently certified by the Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accreditation entity for U.S. healthcare organizations.

Working alongside Dr. Umnas and his team of pediatricians is a highly dedicated staff consisting of registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, nursing aids, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists. Together, they deliver 24-hour care for the unit’s chronically ill children, nearly all of whom have severe neurological problems that they were either born with or that resulted from traumatic injury or illness. Every patient in the unit requires a tracheostomy to breathe and a feeding tube for nutrition. Many also need a ventilator to assist them with breathing.

“As of this date, none of our residents have contracted COVID-19, which demonstrates the lengths to which our staff has gone in terms of infection prevention and keeping them safe, since they are a vulnerable population,” said Luce. “What I’m most proud of is the teamwork that it takes from all levels to make sure our residents keep doing well.”