Champaign County Board OKs exploring dialysis in nursing home

URBANA — County board members tentatively agreed Tuesday to issue a request for proposals from potential vendors to operate a renal dialysis program at the Champaign County Nursing Home.

The vote doesn't mean there will be a dialysis program at the nursing home, only that the county is interested in investigating the financial potential of such a service.

A formal vote on the idea will come at next week's regular county board meeting.

Scott Gima, manager of the nursing home, told county board members that decreases in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have required the nursing home to look into other revenue sources.

"We have to make up for that lost revenue somehow. We're not going to get our Medicare rates back to where they were two years ago. So we have to either get more Medicare or increase our length of stay," Gima said.

While the county would not pay for the dialysis equipment or assume liability for operations, the nursing home will require an estimated $300,000 in renovations, mostly in plumbing and electrical improvements, Gima said.

He said the dialysis would be convenient for many nursing-home residents.

"One of the benefits of this is the convenience factor. They can just go down the hall and get their dialysis treatment," he said. "It is a quality-of-life issue for them."

The nursing home also is examining possibly expanding its respiratory therapy services, he said.

"There are a ton of people who have congestive heart failure, or require respiratory care services, so we think it will allow us to attract more Medicare," Gima told the county board.

Also Tuesday, dozens of appointments got preliminary approval from the board, including Philip Hult of rural Mahomet and Andrew Kerins of Urbana to terms on the Champaign County Forest Preserve District board.

The board also approved a change in the City of Champaign Precinct 4 polling place, moving the election station from Snyder Hall on the University of Illinois campus to a new student dining facility at 301 E. Gregory Drive, C.

Four of 27 board members were absent from Tuesday's committee meeting — Democrats Chris Alix, Carol Ammons and Michael Richards and Republican Ron Bensyl.

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