Two city-owned nursing homes that were criticized for poor patient care this year are now in better standing.

The Washington Center for Aging Services, which had been in danger of losing its federal payments for Medicaid and Medicare by May, improved patient care and was certified to receive federal funds until Nov. 30. Loss of the federal payments almost certainly would have forced the private firm that operates the 248-bed home under contract with the city to close the facility.

Judy McPherson, director of health care facilities for the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, said the nursing home at 2601 18th St. NE received a six-month federal certification instead of the customary one-year certification because "we wanted to monitor them more closely."

City officials make recommendations on certification to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

McPherson said the results of a recent inspection of the Washington Center "were positive."

J.B. Johnson Nursing Center, a 244-bed nursing home at 901 First St. NW, also has corrected deficiencies that threatened its license to provide care, according to McPherson.

The city issued J.B. Johnson and the Washington Center 90-day provisional licenses in February for both J.B. Johnson Nursing Center and the Washington Center, in an effort to force improvements in care. The restricted licensing followed city inspections that revealed mistakes in treatment, insufficient nurses, failure to protect patients' privacy and safety violations at the two homes.

The homes were reinspected and issued licenses on May 1, according to McPherson.

J.B. Johnson Nursing Center is operated by Urban Shelters and Health Care Systems, a firm headed by businessman Roy Littlejohn. Urban Shelters is also a subcontractor to Excepticon, which holds a $9 million yearly contract to run the Washington Center.

Together, the two nursing homes care for about one-fifth of the nursing home residents in the city.