Portales nursing home gets top rating from agency

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico

Heartland Continuing Care has earned the highest rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

According to the Medicare website, the center has rated six nursing homes within a 50-mile radius of Portales, and Heartland is the only one with the five-star rating.

Health inspections, quality measures and staffing factor into the evaluations, said Heartland Administrator Joann Tweedy. She learned of the facility’s rating about a month ago.

Tweedy attributed the five-star rating to a combination of things, but emphasized staffing.

“It helps when you’re here for the right reasons — you care about the residents and want them to be happy,” she said.

Heartland employees feel that way and work well together, which is also vital, Tweedy said.

To evaluate the nursing homes, she said, Center for Medicare and Medicaid personnel look at the last three years of health inspection records, staffing information obtained during the most recent facility inspection and quarterly status reports for residents.

Heartland resident Ila Jean Clark praised the employees.

“They’re just so kind to us and so good,” she said, adding that she sometimes feels sorry for the staff members because they give so much.

While Clark said she would like to be home, she also said it’s nice to have a good place to stay if that isn’t possible, and she doesn’t miss cooking and washing dishes.

“You just feel real comfortable; it’s just your home,” she said.