By: Diane Benjamin
I filed a FOIA request this morning for communication about the Nursing Home. The long time Administrator quit. She gave 30 days notice, evidently the County hasn’t found a suitable replacement: Job posting
I spent most of the morning listening to the last County Health Committee meeting held April 6th. I also read the documentation for the last 2 meetings. No mention was made about the Administrator leaving. There was a LOT of talk about revenue and expenses at the nursing home. I wonder how many County Board members do not want to subsidize the nursing home anymore? Some sure sounded like they didn’t.
Here is the breakdown of who is paying the bills at this facility:
The majority of the patients are on Public Assistance. Private nursing homes limit the number of public aid patients they accept because of delays in being reimbursed and low reimbursement rates.
If this home is closed, local medicaid patients could find themselves housed many miles away which would make visits by loved ones difficult. There have been talks of adding a Memory Care unit to increase the number of filled beds, but so far the County hasn’t approved going that direction.
Much of the talk at the meeting was the need to repay the state $244,195. That amount resulted from an audit done by the State which they do about every 5 years. State auditors drop in unannounced. That amount is due because the home was overpaid. The audit covered about 18 months, meaning any over-payments outside of the 18 months audited the home gets to keep.
What the Committee members missed was the County got to USE the State’s $244,195 for free! The County had to pay it back without interest, but while they had it that money subsidized operations. There is no way to account for money that might need to be paid back because every transaction isn’t audited.
FYI: I met the Edgar County Watchdogs when a State whistle-blower started feeding me information about Medicaid and I realized what I had was WAY over my pay grade. We found out the State had outsourced payments to Michigan since the State system was antiquated. That was probably 7-8 years ago, Maybe nothing has changed.
Talk of closing this nursing home has been happening for a long time. The County needs to decide to keep it, properly fund it, and allow innovation in services to increase revenue or close it and get it over with. Contact your County Board member if you have an opinion.
Cindy Wegner is the Administrator who left. She is questioned on the video. Other topics were covered too. At times the video has no sound but the participants said nothing about not being able to hear. I wonder if comments were edited on purpose? See 35:00 for an example. It is not the only place. State law says a Licensed Administrator must be at the home. This should be interesting.