County nursing home census dips

County nursing home census dips

URBANA — The average daily census at the Champaign County Nursing Home dropped to its lowest level in more than three years last month, but the facility's manager said he did not believe it was because of reports of an increase in deaths there over the winter.

Champaign County Corner Duane Northrup found that 42 nursing home residents died between Dec. 1, 2012 and March 11, 2013, but he said most were hospice patients. Both Northrup and the Illinois Department of Public Health investigated the uptick in deaths and cleared the nursing home.

Nursing home Manager Scott Gima said Monday that the facility's average daily census in March was 182, down from a high of 212 last October, and the lowest level since early 2010. But he didn't blame the drop on bad publicity or concerns about the deaths.

"It's cyclical. Everybody's down," he said. "The hospitals have been slow. No Medicare orthopedics. It's all younger, non-Medicare orthopedics from what we understand.

"We haven't seen any negative impact."

Gima said he did not know how many deaths were reported at the nursing home in March. Before last December the nursing home had had an average of 5.3 deaths per month in 2012.

Also Monday, Gima told the county's nursing home board of directors that the facility would write off $292,586 worth of bad debt from 2012. He said that amounted to about 2 percent of the $14 million of total revenue for the year.

"It's pretty spread out from all the payor sources," he said, citing Medicare, private pay, resident liability and commercial insurance sources.

Gima said the nursing home plans to be more aggressive in recovering bad debt.

"We're going to make sure we're touching every unpaid claim every month," he said. "Bdecause we have so many different payors we have so many different tasks. But it is phone calls, following up on whether there was a missing billing code or a revenue code. It's a very complicated thing."

Gima said the nursing home industry standard for bad debt is anywhere from 0.5 percent to 3 percent a year.

"The amount we're writing off for 2012 amounts to about 2 percent. While it's a big number it's not totally out of whack for what we see in the industry," he said. "That being said, it's not an acceptable level of bad debt that we want to be at. There are things we have put into place to work on it."

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alumni90 wrote on April 08, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Let me see...the Director of the Champaign County Nursing did not know how many deaths there were in the facility that he is in charge of in March?  What is 5.3 deaths?

I find it very alarming that nursing homes have people who go to the local hospitals and stalk the Emergency Room Departments and walk the floors of the hospitals to look for potential hospice patients or other patients for their facility. 

The number of residents at the Champaign County Nursing Home is probably down from recent months or years because everyone knows someone who knows someone that has been a resident at the facility or has died at the facility because; for example, a resident who was discovered lying in her bed with two broken legs and and no staff had checked on her..she was deceased.

Or, a gentleman who was on blood thinners and died because he had fallen and no one had checked on him and he ultimately bleed to death.  The staff was advised that he was on blood thinners and was a high risk for falling. 

Or, how about another resident who was perfectly fine and was riding around in his motorized wheel chair earlier in the morning and died later the same morning because his blood sugar dropped and no staff checked on him and he ultimately died.

So you see,...perhaps that is why your numbers are down..everyone knows someone, who knows someone that has died at your facility from neglect.



rsp wrote on April 09, 2013 at 4:04 am

Knows someone who knows someone? So people are basing this on rumors? I'd say that probably applies to every nursing home. 

alumni90 wrote on April 09, 2013 at 10:04 am

These are just three incidents that I know, personally.  And, in speaking with others; YES, others have their own personal story of a loved one or friend that has passed away due to neglect at the Champaign County Nursing Home.  The death of a loved one due to neglect at the Champaign County Nursing Home is not a rumor it is a fact. 

When a person is searching for a qualified "nursing skillied facility" for a loved one it is usually under emergency circumstances because the loved one has spent their "3 midnights" in the hospital and are still too ill or need physical therapy at a facility before returning home.  As I stated earlier; nursing homes have employees that stalk the hallways in the hospitals looking for people to admit to their facilities.  My father was at Provena Hospital for an emergency circumstance and was placed under an "observation status" and did not stay his "3 midnights" that is required for Medicare patients. After spending his three nights of "observation" he was discharged because Provena and or Medicare would now allow him to remain in the hospital any longer.   A representative from a local "skilled nursing facility" was lurking in the hallway; introduced herself; and, spoke with my family about the "skilled nursing facility" where she was employed and advised that my father could receive the necessary physical therapy at the facility.  My father went to the facility for physical therapy and received the physical therapy that he needed to he could return home.  Although, the "skilled nursing" was not so skilled and he was seconds away from dying before I called an ambulance for him to return to the hospital because of the failed "skilled nursing" that he received while in Heartland "skilled nursing facility."  My father almost died and would have died if I had not called an ambulance and had him treated in the Emergency Department at Provena by a wonderful skilled nurse and doctor in the Emergency Room.  After spending his "3 midnights" in Provena he was transferred to Gifford Country Health in Gifford, Illinois, for physical therapy and he thrived!  He received the best care at Gifford Country Health because they care about their residents!

So, rsp, in sharing my father's story with other families with similar circumstances, yes, everyone knows someone, who knows someone; and, yes, I knew those three people at Champaign County Nursing Home that passed away because of neglect of the "skilled nursing facility."  And, yes, my father almost died at another "skilled nurisng facility" other than Champaign County Nursing Home. So, unfortunately, everyone knows someone who knew someone.



SaintClarence27 wrote on April 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I encourage anyone who is aware of *any* neglect to call the Nursing home abuse and neglect hotline at 800-252-4343.

Unfortunately, deaths happen often in long term care facilities. However, every death is required to be investigated by IDPH. If there is information that could be provided, but isn't, that is a problem. Therefore, if you know something, call. Don't assume that someone else has already reported it, either.

slhire61919 wrote on April 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm

alumni90- would you contact me if I give you my email address? I would like to talk to you. I too have had a loved one die.