Tom Kacich: It's about time for a management change at nursing home

Tom Kacich: It's about time for a management change at nursing home

Hear more from Kacich Thursday at 7:40 on WDWS.

After nine years and $3.4 million in payments from the county government, an era is ending at the Champaign County Nursing Home. And it's about time.

Management Performance Associates has managed the nursing home since July 2008 and will end its run on June 30, when a new company yet to be officially selected will take its place.

In fairness, the Chesterfield, Mo., company has been done no favors by the national uncertainty over health care funding and Illinois' dreadful fiscal policies, both of which have contributed to the nursing home's poor financial condition and outlook. While the nursing home owes the county and its vendors about $3.2 million (one pharmaceutical firm is owed almost $440,000), the nursing home has accounts receivable (some of which will never be recovered) of more than $5 million.

It's a tough business, particularly when more than 60 percent of the nursing home residents are Medicaid-eligible and the state's Medicaid program is a mess.

Cash flow was a problem when MPA started ("The seminal issue for CCNH remains its cash flow," manager Michael Scavotto wrote in September 2008) and it is again today, although for different reasons. Part of the reason MPA was brought in nine years ago was to fix the nursing home's financial reporting and planning, which it did.

But among the things MPA didn't fix, despite many complaints for many years, were its food service, staffing and quality of care. Those were regular and chronic complaints from residents and residents' family members at monthly meetings of the nursing home board, also reflected in the monthly and quarterly Pinnacle scores for the home.

The "quality of food" score — which residents and family members often said is the most important item to a nursing home resident — was about 15 percent below the national average. Other important scores also were well below average: dining service, nursing care, cleanliness and overall satisfaction.

MPA's replacement at the nursing home likely will be SAK Management Services of Northfield, a firm that claims to be "the foremost leader in long-term health care facility turnaround."

SAK would be challenged to turn around this facility, for which voters in April said no to a tax increase. Its census is declining; staff morale is low; employees, including the home's administrator, are leaving; and the county board is trying to figure out a way to keep the home operating without any more county support.

County Administrator Rick Snider said Monday that SAK would be paid based on the revenue it brings in, essentially how much it can boost the nursing home census.

When MPA started, the goal was a census of 208. That later was dropped to 195. Last month, the census averaged 138.

The home has 243 certified beds.

Officer Tatman honor

Senate Joint Resolution 31 in the Illinois Senate would name West Church Street in Champaign, as it runs from Country Fair Drive to Mattis Avenue, as "Officer Robert L. Tatman Memorial Drive."

Officer Tatman, a five-year Champaign Police officer, was found shot to death in his squad car nearly 50 years ago on that stretch of Church. The Nov. 27, 1967, murder remains unsolved.

The resolution was adopted unanimously in the Senate and is now in the House Rules Committee.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 217-351-5221 or at kacich@news-gazette.com.

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787 wrote on June 14, 2017 at 7:06 am

How many other Nursng Homes in the area have employees that belong to a union, other than the Champaign County Nursing Home?

 

pattsi wrote on June 14, 2017 at 8:06 am

None and throughout the state, there are approximately 20 out of 700 nursing homes that have a union. These figures may not be dead on because it is a bit difficult to collect all of the data. In addition across the country, very few nursing homes/assisted living/other forms of senior living have unions, but I have no specific data.

787 wrote on June 14, 2017 at 9:06 am

Thank you, Ms. Petrie.

Does SAK have past experience in managing facilites that are staffed with union labor?  

Unfortunately, it sounds like CCNH is fairly unique, just on this one item alone.

pattsi wrote on June 14, 2017 at 11:06 am

I do not know the answer, but I will inquire and post again when I have the information. Thanks for the inquiry.

pattsi wrote on June 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

duplicate deleted.

Citizen1 wrote on June 14, 2017 at 9:06 am

Nursing Home?  What isn't it sold yet?

rsp wrote on June 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

They aren't required to sell it but if they did don't you think it would be better to try to get a better price? It will take a long time to sell because it's government owned.

headshaking wrote on June 14, 2017 at 11:06 am

"County Administrator Rick Snider said Monday that SAK would be paid based on the revenue it brings in, essentially how much it can boost the nursing home census."

Bad idea.  Bad, bad idea.

Census = number of occupied beds.

This is a fundamental problem in nursing homes today. Basing anyone’s compensation on driving revenue will only lead to poorer quality of care for the residents.  The primary source of revenue for a nursing home is room and board.  That revenue is, in turn, driven by census.  Keep the beds full!

 

Where is SAK’s incentive to provide more staff and better qualified staff?  Where is their incentive to provide additional training to staff in order to provide better care to the residents?  Where is their incentive to comply with Federal and State Regulations (which in turn should lead to better care for the residents)?

 

Some of their compensation should be tied to quality of care!  Some of their compensation should be tied to clean IDPH surveys and IDPH complaint investigations.  Some of their compensation should be tied to staff turnover.  Some of their compensation should be tied to collecting on the accounts receivables.

787 wrote on June 14, 2017 at 11:06 am

Why is it any worse than when the census shows a half full nursing home?

Quite honestly, if the Medicare ratings for CCNH were only mediocre... it would be an improvement. 

How about the union working to provide a better end result?

Half full, less than stellar ratings, additional issues due to unionized staff, a building with design and construction issues...  wow.

rsp wrote on June 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Officer Tatman, a five-year Champaign Police officer, was found shot to death in his squad car nearly 50 years ago on that stretch of Church.

If my memory is correct he was outside of his car when he was shot.

pattsi wrote on June 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

I have checked--this company has worked with entities that have unions.