The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced via its website that the Canyonlands Care Center has earned a five-star rating. Care center staffers gathered on Tuesday, March 6, to commemorate the distinction. Tom Lacy (left, standing) is pictured with Cheryl Greer, Jillian Fryer, Barberella Hill, Sylvia Fountain, Jennifer Hutchinson, Darrin Blake, Kim Blake, Cindy Cowan, Jeanette Taylor, Makenzie Bowden, Kim Macfarlane (kneeling, left), Zacry Alexander, Brittany Allred and Brezzie Spangler. [Photo by Rudy Herndon / Moab Sun News]

It’s like a physical, of sorts, for nursing homes – and the Canyonlands Care Center passed with flying colors.

Moab’s local care facility recently announced that it received a five-star rating from Nursing Home Compare, a residential care rating tool that looks at all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities nationwide.

“Everybody was quite jubilant about it, including the board,” said Elizabeth Tubbs, who sits on the Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District Board, which owns the not-for-profit facility. “We’re all very, very pleased and proud of the work that they’ve done, and the credit goes to the staff at the care center.”

Nursing Home Compare is operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nursing Home Compare analyzes data on all facilities that are certified by Medicaid or Medicare, and summarizes its findings in a one- to five-star rating system, with five stars indicating the best-quality facility. The information is available to the public online, at

The center’s employees said they are particularly proud of its recent five-star rating, because they’ve had to work their way up from a poor review from 2014.

“It is both challenging and rewarding to provide the best care possible for our residents,” Canyonlands Care Center Administrator Kim Macfarlane said. “With that being said, we are not going to rest on our laurels with this recognition. We are going to continue to go above and beyond with the care and love of our residents.”

Macfarlane said the care center’s past problems were systemic, rather than specific issues. By following protocols and adhering to standardized systems, all operations have begun to run more smoothly, she said, and the center was able to reduce the deficiencies noted in the annual survey from 23 in 2014, to zero in 2016, and just four in 2017.

The Canyonlands Care Center has 36 beds for residents and offers services such as physical and recreational therapy, dietitian oversight and nursing. Its website strongly emphasizes respect for the dignity of all residents. Eventually, the center looks forward to adding more specialized equipment for eldercare, and offering field trips for residents.

Macfarlane said that the center’s staffers will have to continue to strive to maintain the center’s Nursing Home Compare star-rating, which will be updated as new data are reported. The surveys are done once a year, but the star ratings are cumulative – they take prior years’ results into consideration.

The ratings are reached through a complex set of standardized calculations using information from three databases.

The CMS health inspection database records findings from federal health inspections and any complaints filed. Another national database, called the Minimum Data Set, stores data submitted from nursing homes themselves, from in-house assessments of the health and well-being of residents. The last database has information on Medicare and Medicaid claims, through which CMS can track when patients are admitted and released from residential facilities and hospitals.

Information from each of these sources is weighed into a system which produces star ratings in three areas: health inspections, staffing and quality measures – the last of which refers to the well-being of residents.

In its most recent rating, Canyonlands Care Center received four stars in health inspections (“above average”), five stars in staffing (“much above average”) and three stars in quality measures (“average”). CMS also awards an “overall” rating, in which Canyonlands Care Center received its celebrated five stars.

The care center opened in 2011, and it’s funded by the special service district, partly through sales tax and mineral lease funds. It is also closely linked to Moab Regional Hospital – the hospital manages the care center and the two facilities are on the same campus, though the center is a separate entity. Volunteers and nonprofits donate hours, services and funds to the center.

However, supervisors at the care center credit their employees for the CMS rating.

“It is through the dedication of our staff, and their commitment to our mission, that we have achieved this rating,” Canyonlands Care Center Director of Nursing Barberella Hill said. “This rating is a validation of the direction we are going and the work we are performing.”

Macfarlane said that the care center would like to acknowledge the special service district’s board of directors who volunteer their time. In addition, she thanked Moab Regional Hospital, the Grand County Council, doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, culinary/dietitians, environmental techs, housekeeping, social workers, IT, physical therapists, activity volunteers and community members who have supported the seniors of Moab and the care center.

The care center will host a celebration of its Nursing Home Compare rating on site, and the event will be open to the public, though the details are not yet in place.

“I’d like to invite the mayor, and kind of make it a big deal,” Macfarlane said.

When more information is available, it will be advertised in the Moab Sun News and posted on public notice boards in town.

Facility’s employees credit hard work for improvement in overall score