Nursing home board gets one proposal for dialysis

Nursing home board gets one proposal for dialysis

URBANA — A respiratory therapy program aimed at boosting admissions to the Champaign County Nursing Home could begin as soon as mid-October, but a planned renal dialysis program may be delayed.

Only one vendor submitted a proposal last week to provide renal dialysis services at the facility, nursing home manager Scott Gima told the county's nursing home advisory board Monday.

He said he had not reviewed the proposal, but he added that if it was not favorable to the nursing home, it could be rejected and another request for proposals could be issued.

"We're not bound to go with this," Gima said. "We can negotiate and if we don't like where we're going we can try again."

Like the respiratory therapy program, the renal dialysis service has been proposed as a way of increasing business at the cash-strapped nursing home.

The facility endured its sixth consecutive month of net losses in July, even though its average daily census was nearly 200, which is higher than most months in the last two years. The nursing home recorded a net loss of $23,154 in July, an improvement over recent months.

Gima added, however, that with depreciation figured in the nursing home had a net balance in July of $37,484.

The county-owned facility has been hurt, he said, by cuts in both Medicare and Medicaid rates in the last last year. About two-thirds of the nursing home's residents are covered under one of the government programs.

"It's always because Medicaid doesn't come close to covering our costs. It covers our fixed costs but not our fixed and variable costs," he said. "Medicare's the only payer source that covers our costs by a significant margin. Private pay doesn't quite cover all our costs."

A 12 percent Medicare rate cut last October hurt the nursing home, Gima said. Things should improve a bit next month when a nationwide Medicare rate increase of roughly 2 percent becomes effective.

"That'll help a little bit," Gima said.

The respiratory therapy program at the nursing home is aimed at attracting more Medicare referrals, he said.

"The goal is to try to keep these folks here and to keep them out of the hospitals," Gima said.

The nursing home board also learned Monday night that the home's management has dropped, for now, any discussion of issuing revenue anticipation notes to help the facility through difficult financial times.

State Medicaid reimbursement payments remain two to three months' late, not as bad as they are projected to become next spring. The county may reconsider revenue anticipation notes at that time, Gima said.

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