Progress through quality: Magnolia Manor continues to focus on high quality care

Published 2:45 pm Monday, March 14, 2016

AMERICUS — Progress can often be reflected differently, depending on the person, business, or circumstance. For Magnolia Manor, progress can be reflected in many ways. It can be new buildings, additional supporters to the League of the Good Samaritan, or the new faces of residents or staff. Perhaps, however, the most important measure of progress reflected at Magnolia Manor is the growing quality of care each resident receives.
For more than half a century, Magnolia Manor has been known as a South Georgia expert in long term care for older adults. Mark Todd, president & CEO shares, “You aren’t considered an expert in your field by accident. Magnolia Manor has worked for more than 50 years to provide excellent service through attention to detail.”
Magnolia Manor has spent the last several years focused on working to move the quality of their care to an even higher level. This process was in response to national initiatives designed to increase quality in long term care settings as established by the federal agency, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), and The American Health Care Association (AHCA) in conjunction with the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL).
Hill Fort, senior vice president for operations at Magnolia Manor, was charged with implementing these Quality Initiatives. Fort states, “The Quality Initiative Program reaches across all facilities, all departments, and all positions at Magnolia Manor. Through excellence in leadership, better defined goals, better education of staff, higher levels of accountability and better use of our resources we are working to set the industry standards in long term care quality. As a matter of fact, I am proud to say that Magnolia Manor is several years ahead of the national industry on Quality Initiatives.”
Fort continued with a brief explanation of how quality for long term care is measured.
Skilled nursing centers
Located in Americus, Columbus, Buena Vista and St. Simons Island, Magnolia Manor has five skilled nursing care facilities across the state of Georgia. Each nursing center is surveyed every nine to 15 months by state inspectors in a multi-day process that examines between 3,000 and 5,000 areas in each nursing center. The data collected through this survey process is then used by the federal government to rate each nursing center.
Assisted living/personal care
Located in Americus, Moultrie, Macon, Columbus, Richmond Hill, St. Simons Island and St. Marys, Magnolia Manor has eight assisted living and personal care facilities across the state of Georgia. Each assisted living and personal care home is surveyed in a process similar to the nursing centers. There currently is not a national initiative specific to measuring quality in assisted living similar to the one in pace for the nursing centers. Magnolia Manor, however, proactively established an internal system for how quality is measured in their assisted living and personal care homes. With the institution of this system, Magnolia Manor routinely measures quality across their entire spectrum of care.
Born out of the focus on quality care initiatives, Magnolia Manor instituted or grew many programs to propel the organization forward in the pursuit of the highest quality care possible to their residents. Highlighted are just a few of these programs now in place throughout the organization.
Certification of Assisted Living Administrators
For the first time in the state of Georgia, Magnolia Manor’s Assisted Living and Personal Care Administrators have all been qualified as Certified Assisted Living Directors. As a direct result of this increased focus on higher quality care and excellence in caregiving, Magnolia Manor is now setting the standard of care for assisted living and personal care in the state of Georgia, and is the provider called upon by other assisted living and personal care providers to ask questions about quality.

Photo submitted by Magnolia Manor:   The Americus Campus National Quality Award recipients are, from left, Hill Fort, senior vice president for operations of Magnolia Manor; Susie Fussell, administrator for Magnolia Manor of Americus Nursing and Rehabilitation Center displaying their Quality Award; Jane House, administrator for Magnolia Manor of Americus Assisted Living displaying their Quality Award; and Barbara Mitchell, vice president for clinical services and corporate compliance for Magnolia Manor.

Photo submitted by Magnolia Manor:
The Americus Campus National Quality Award recipients are, from left, Hill Fort, senior vice president for operations of Magnolia Manor; Susie Fussell, administrator for Magnolia Manor of Americus Nursing and Rehabilitation Center displaying their Quality Award; Jane House, administrator for Magnolia Manor of Americus Assisted Living displaying their Quality Award; and Barbara Mitchell, vice president for clinical services and corporate compliance for Magnolia Manor.

Expanded Satisfaction Survey Process
Annual Satisfaction Surveys are routinely completed in each skilled nursing care center. In response to the increased focus on excellence in quality care, Magnolia Manor expanded this process to include all Magnolia Manor entities. Twice annually, a satisfaction survey is provided to the institution’s residents, family members and employees. This process offers the opportunity to report anonymously what Magnolia Manor is doing well and where they can improve. These results are compiled and provided to the senior management leaders of the organization through an independent process used for review and action. In response to each survey process, a Performance Improvement Team is created, comprised of employees from across all positions and job roles at each facility. This team is charged with establishing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to address any issues revealed in the survey report.
Corporate Compliance Program
As an additional measure to assure Magnolia Manor goes above and beyond minimum standards in their business practices, a Corporate Compliance program was established. This program extends to all governing board members, all providers, each staff member, and every vendor. Each of these groups must pass a background check for prior abuse or fraudulent behavior. Included in this program is a Code of Conduct designed to prevent fraud and abuse that was adopted by the governing body and is taught to staff. Mark Todd, President and CEO, shared, “It is healthy for Magnolia Manor to have this level of oversight independent of Magnolia Manor’s senior management, including my office as the CEO. When the need arises, confidential investigations are conducted by the organization’s compliance officer and presented to the board of trustees, as needed, for the most appropriate response.”
Strategic Plan
Leaders from across the organization, including members of the governing body, created a strategic plan to set goals for Magnolia Manor to achieve a higher level of quality. Six pillars of success were established for Magnolia Manor; (1) Resident-focus, (2) Quality Care, (3) Employees, (4) Making Ministry Matter, (5) Financial Sustainability, and (6) Growth & Innovation. Each pillar contains specific goals, action plans and measureable steps to aid in the completion of the plan and achieve these goals. Through this process, a tool was established to review, track and report on outcomes in Magnolia Manor’s pursuit for excellence in quality care. The plan is reviewed and reported monthly among the corporate leadership team of Magnolia Manor, and twice annually with Magnolia Manor’s governing body.
As a result of the increased focus on quality, Magnolia Manor has been nationally recognized for its dedication to improving the lives of its residents through higher standards of service and excellence in care giving. Seven Magnolia Manor facilities have been recognized as recipients of the Bronze Commitment to Quality Award. Magnolia Manor also leads the way in assisted living by being among the first in the state of Georgia to be awarded the Bronze Quality Award. The quality imitative program is based on the nationally recognized Baldridge Performance Excellence Criteria, which sets high standards with clear expectations for quality care and honors centers of excellence across the nation. A progressive program, there are three levels of achievement within the award process, each level containing its own distinct requirements for performance excellence. Facilities are reviewed and judged by nationally trained examiners based on the comprehensive standards set forth within each level. To receive distinctions, facilities must demonstrate a commitment to quality and complete the rigorous criteria specific to each level. To move through higher levels in the program, a facility must have been awarded the previous level award within the immediate previous three years.
Vice President Fort states, “As evidenced through our national recognition, we have seen significant success already. In addition to recognition at a national level, we are seeing enhanced teamwork, improved annual survey results, more strategic thinking and, most importantly, higher resident and family overall satisfaction. Moving forward, we will continue working to meet the measurable targets that produce excellence in care.”
In closing, Todd stated “As part of our initiatives to higher quality of care, in 2016 we will add to our organizational quality initiatives additional review processes like the EAGLE Accreditation Program through the United Methodist Association. Similar to the Joint Accreditation Commission that hospitals go through, this process is faith-based and very comprehensive. It is a voluntary accreditation process that causes Magnolia Manor to introspectively scrutinize our practices, makes us look at what makes us unique, reviews where we perform well and addresses  where we can improve.”
“There is always an opportunity to improve,” todd continued. “We can’t rest on our laurels because we have achieved success in the previous year or even today. Tomorrow will arrive with its own challenges and opportunities. Today, we are better than we were yesterday; tomorrow we must be better than today.”
For more information about Magnolia Manor please visit its website at or the campus located at 2001 S. Lee St., Americus.
For more information about the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program, please visit their website at
About Magnolia Manor
Chartered in 1959, Magnolia Manor is a not-for-profit senior care organization. Governed by a board of trustees, Magnolia Manor provides a loving home to ensure the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of seniors across South Georgia are provided for each day.

-Submitted by Magnolia Manor