Learn how Peachtree Hills Place achieved a deficiency-free state survey using an expert outsourced MDS Coordinator.
Meet the Terraces at Peachtree Hills Place
The Terraces at Peachtree Hills Place is a continuing care retirement community in Atlanta, Georgia that provides skilled nursing services through their Meadow House residence. Meadow House is a 25-bed facility that prides itself on individualized resident care.
The Meadow House nursing home administrator is Gerri Cooper, LNHA, MHRER and brings seven years of nursing home leadership to the role. Cooper noted, “Our facility is unique in our personalized attention and dedication to residents. Our associates generally care for five or six residents compared to other facilities where there’s 10 to 20 residents per associate.” She continued, “Only having five residents to care for allows our staff to provide one-on-one attention. Residents really want and need that focused care.”
Polaris and Peachtree: building on a long-standing relationship
“Polaris had already been supporting the Peachtree organization when I was hired,” noted Cooper. In fact, Polaris recruited and staffed the interim nursing home administrator who led Meadow House for two months prior to Cooper’s arrival.
“There were a lot of administrative concerns before I arrived, the facility lacked the policies and procedures needed to operate effectively. In just two months, the Polaris interim administrator put many great systems in place that made it easy for me to transition into the role full-time.”
Providing flexibility through the outsourced MDS Coordinator
In 2021, Peachtree and Cooper needed to find a part-time MDS coordinator. “It was very challenging to find an MDS coordinator who wanted to work part-time,” said Cooper. “Most MDS coordinators want full-time work because of their skill level, but we didn’t need a full-time hire.” Hiring an MDS coordinator at an MDS salary, only to have them spend half their time working the floor, didn’t make financial sense for the facility. Cooper was stuck, so she turned to Polaris Group.
The Polaris outsourced and offsite MDS Coordinator solution
Polaris provided an ideal solution: an outsourced and offsite Polaris MDS coordinator. Polaris could structure the MDSC as a part-time role, the offsite environment expanded the talent pool, and Peachtree received support without straining their budget.
The Peachtree CEO was in favor of this outsourced and offsite solution, but Cooper was initially hesitant. She remarked, “I wanted to have the MDS coordinator in the facility because I thought they needed to physically look at the patient and put their eyes on them. I also wanted to leverage their knowledge and experience to educate the rest of our staff. I thought trainings would benefit our staff best by being done in-person.”
Despite her reservations, Cooper and the Peachtree facility were willing to try the outsourced and offsite MDS model and began working with Polaris to staff this role.
Outsourced MDSC results: a zero deficiency survey
The results turned Cooper into a believer.
“Our MDSC is a true part of our team. She attends every meeting – daily stand-ups, case mix, QAPI, weekly resident review –and is involved in everything. She catches things that may have been missed because she is offsite and has the time to find errors. It’s amazing what she gets accomplished because she isn’t in-person and being pulled to the floor.
Cooper continued, “Our MDSC’s level of focus and detail has improved our operations and care. She analyzes our referrals and gives consultation on who is a good fit for our community and reasons why. That’s the kind of insight that helps our whole team learn and improve. We’re getting access to all this great knowledge and experience as if she were in-person.”
In late 2022, Cooper received word that Peachtree Hills had passed its state survey with zero deficiencies. She shared, " I am so excited for our team, but this would not have been possible without Polaris Group's help. I want to personally thank you for all the hours you put in educating us and making us look good. This team has stepped up in so many ways and I'm very proud of them!"
Utilizing other Polaris services to strengthen facility operations
Peachtree has since expanded their use of outsourced MDSCs to other facilities and added on other consulting services.
“We built a relationship with our Polaris consultant, and she works so well with our facility that we signed an annual agreement," explained Cooper.
The annual agreement gives Peachtree access to Polaris consulting services and visits through the length of the contract. The Peachtree team can also use Polaris’ nurse hotline which answers MDS, regulatory, and financial questions. For a smaller facility like Peachtree, the nurse hotline functions as a regional office, providing expertise and support they would not otherwise have.
“Building relationships with Polaris consultants and staff has been wonderful,” shared Ms. Cooper. “The team is supportive, helpful, and has answers to even the most technical questions. A truly top of the line group of people– they know their stuff and it’s great to have them as partners!”