More than half of nursing homes within 50 miles of MKE are rated below average or worse

Nurse wearing blue uniform
Posted at 1:00 PM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-14 23:40:22-04

Out of the 375 nursing homes in Wisconsin, 60 are rated one star.

Nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid are rated out of five stars at

The federal government looks at the quality of care, staffing levels and health inspections.

Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne sat down for an interview with Otis Woods. He heads up the Division of Quality Assurance, which handles nursing home licensing and inspections.

Byrne said to Woods, "Right now, as it stands, it doesn't seem like there are a lot of options for people to stay in a reputable nursing home."

“Would you agree with that?” Byrne continued.

Woods responded, “One-star facilities, if it's continuing to be a one-star facility, it's something you may want to avoid.”

Byrne showed Woods the case summaries the I-team received from an open records request, detailing abuse and neglect at different nursing homes in southeast Wisconsin.

Byrne said, “These are homes all throughout our area. What do you think of that?”

Woods responded, “If those are violations my staff identified, those are very unfortunate. Those are issues that shouldn't happen.”

About 56% of nursing homes within a 50-mile radius of Milwaukee are rated below average or worse.

“Do you think the whole system of how it's in place needs to be improved?” Byrne asked Woods.

“I think the system is working fine,” said Woods. “The facility, we hold them accountable for the care and treatment of residents, and we will do whatever we can to bring the issue to their doorstep.

“If we identified a pattern of harm that we, the state licensing authority should act on behalf of the license, we can take the license away and revoke it,” Woods continued.

Woods has a meeting coming up with federal partners and said problem facilities, including those in Wisconsin, will be addressed.

Resources for families looking for long-term care:

Special Focus Facility

These are nursing homes that have had a “history of serious quality issues.” Three Wisconsin facilities made the list, and one is in Milwaukee.

5-Star Rating System

This federal website allows you to see how a nursing home has been rated by inspectors.

Questions to ask when touring a facility

To file a complaint with the state