Federal, state governments say they're sending overdue checks to nursing home

URBANA — Two big checks apparently are on their way to the cash-short Champaign County Nursing Home in the next week, nursing home manager Michael Scavotto said Wednesday.

"It's a big payday for Champaign County," said Scavotto, who is president of Management Performance Associates, the St. Louis firm that manages the nursing home. "Eventually we're going to get all the money that is owed to us."

County board members announced Tuesday that a long-due federal intergovernmental transfer was on its way to the county. That reimbursement, estimated at between $1.8 and $1.9 million, dates back to June.

Another approximately $500,000 will be paid out in future quarterly payments, Scavotto said.

"We've been waiting so long that it's wonderful news," said Champaign Democrat Jan Anderson, who also is a member of the nursing home's board of directors.

Meanwhile, the nursing home also is expected to receive another overdue payment, this one from the state government, next week.

"We're in line for $895,000," Scavotto said. "It should be paid next week. At least we know that it's coming."

The reimbursement checks will be used to pay off an accumulation of bills at the nursing home that totaled $3.376 million as of Oct. 31, according to Scavotto.

"A good portion of this will be used to pay down the payables," said Champaign Republican Alan Nudo, another member of the nursing home board.

The bills have piled up because of the tardy state and federal payments. The county-owned nursing home is not alone in facing millions of dollars in accounts payable. Earlier this week, a Vermilion County Board committee OK'd a $572,000 loan to the Vermilion Manor Nursing Home to make up for late state payments.

"The operations of the nursing home are actually doing OK," Scavotto said. "We're not knocking the cover off the ball, but we've come a long way from where it was three years ago when we got here.

"If the government was able to keep up with its payments, we'd be fine."

The vendors owed the largest amount of money by the nursing home are: Health Resources Alliance, a major supplier of health care services, $1.4 million; retirement payments, $500,000; Medical Staffing Network, which provides supplemental nursing home staffing, $450,000; Waugh Foods, $375,000; Uvanta Pharmacy, $260,000; and Alpha-Care Health Professional, $165,000.

"These payments are good for now," Scavotto said. "But after all these payments, it's going to start all over again. The state's going to be in arrears even worse next year."

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