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"Marin’s smallest nursing homes
outperform larger facilities"

Marin Independent Journal

Richard Halstead
Article Launched: 06/22/2008 01:00:00 AM PDT

Five Marin County nursing homes out–performed their peers based on data collected by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, California HealthCare Foundation and California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

These five homes – The Tamalpais in Greenbrae and Fifth Avenue Health Care Center, Nazareth House, Smith Ranch Care Center and Villa Marin Retirement Residences, all in San Rafael – received fewer citations and deficiencies than the state average from state inspectors from Jan. 1, 2003, to Oct. 26, 2007. They also received less than the average number of complaints by consumers.

The homes also happen to be among the smallest of the 14 nursing homes in the county.

The five homes account for 225 of the county’s 1,032 licensed beds. The county’s largest nursing home, Country Villa Novato Healthcare Center in Novato, has 181 licensed beds.

All but one – Fifth Avenue – are operated by nonprofits. Nazareth House and The Tamalpais are run by churches. Only two – Fifth Avenue and Nazareth House – accept Medi–Cal, which pays far less than Medicare.

Nazareth House has announced its intention to give up its nursing home license, effective in August, to operate as a residential care facility. Such facilities provide nonmedical custodial care and are not required to have trained nurses on staff.