Nursing home board begins strategic planning

URBANA — Members of the Champaign County Nursing Home board of directors Monday night engaged in a first-ever strategic planning session, designed to set out goals for the facility and its management company.

Management Performance Associates, the Chesterfield, Mo.-based firm being paid more than $277,000 this year to run the home, is expected to return to the board next month with a number of targets based on strategic objectives suggested Monday, said Cathy Emanuel, chairwoman of the seven-member board.

Those proposed objectives were from four areas of focus: medical management, financial performance, outcomes measures and nursing management.

Under medical management, board members said the nursing home should expand its specialized services in Alzheimer's and respiratory care and in rehabilitation services, and attempt to increase medical services.

Under financial management, the board suggested improving the facility census, which has dropped sharply in the last year; reducing operating losses; increasing the number of Medicare patients; and establishing a development office to begin fundraising efforts.

In the nursing management area, it was suggested that the institution should attempt to improve the nursing skills of employees perhaps through collaborative efforts with local hospitals, and to hire a long-sought director of nursing.

Among the outcomes measures suggested were improved scores in satisfaction surveys, improved readmission rates, a greater number of patient referrals and increased transparency.

The strategic objectives were developed after board members brainstormed about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the nursing home.

Strengths cited included its Alzheimer's, respiratory-care, adult-day-care and dental-clinic services; its annual subsidy from county taxpayers; the newness of the building; and its long-term reputation.

Weaknesses mentioned included weak cash flow, a declining census, bad publicity and lack of a director of nursing.

Opportunities offered included the possibility of offering luxury accommodations for some patients, the likelihood of a larger customer base as baby boomers retire, adding services, changing the facility's name and undertaking a fundraising effort.

Threats mentioned were increased competition from private nursing homes, problems associated with state reimbursements to the nursing home, the lack of sound financial footing and a volatile health care market.

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