Medicaid problems forcing Hancock County Nursing Home to close Oct. 1

Discussion in 'Economy' started by hvactec, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. hvactec

    hvactec VIP Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    New Jersey
    The Hancock County Nursing Home will close its doors Oct. 1.

    The rising number of Medicaid residents and the shortfall in Medicaid reimbursement proved too much to overcome, officials say, forcing the facility's 34 residents to find new homes and staff members to find new jobs.

    "For skilled nursing facilities like ours, the market is very tough," said Dan Asbury, president of the nursing home's board of directors. "We are faced with a dilemma that makes it not feasible to continue serving the community as we have for the past 40 years."

    The number of residents in the 57-bed Carthage facility has declined in the last four years, along with Medicaid payments that already are far below operating costs. At the same time, the percent of residents who receive public aid increased to almost 65 percent and was projected to reach 75 percent over the next two years.

    That caused a financial crunch for the nursing home. Additional challenges include increasing restrictive state mandates and regulations.

    The board of directors and administrative team worked to identify new ways to make the nursing home, which began serving residents in 1970, a self-sustaining operation. Numerous alternatives, including the sale of the facility to another operator, were explored, but there was no interest from buyers.

    The board also worked with Management Performance Associates, a firm with extensive experience and expertise in senior services, to analyze how to continue those services in the county but "after careful and thoughtful consideration the board made a very difficult decision to exit the traditional nursing home business," Asbury said.

    Hancock County Nursing Home is not alone in making the decision to close.

    "There have been 105 nursing homes close in the state of Illinois over the past few years," said Cynthia Huffman, marketing director for memorial Hospital and Hancock County Nursing Home. "We think it will be a trend that will continue especially with small nursing homes that are privately owned."

    Residents and their families are taking time to make a decision for the future, and "most of those decisions will be made prior to (Oct. 1) ... early on instead of waiting to the last minute," Huffman said.

    Individual meetings will be held with residents and their family members to discuss and finalize plans for the transition to a new home, and the nursing home will assist families in providing transportation for relocation within a 40-mile radius.

    "We've done a lot of homework to make sure there are plenty of beds within the county," Huffman said. "They have a choice to go wherever they want in the county or outside, but it's important to us that they can stay close to family and friends."

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