County treasurer: Financial challenges keep coming for nursing home

County treasurer: Financial challenges keep coming for nursing home

RBANA — A $150,000 short-term advance payment to the Champaign County Nursing Home has been repaid, but more difficult financial times lie ahead for the institution, the county treasurer warns.

The loan from county collector funds, needed to help meet payroll two weeks ago, has been repaid, said County Treasurer John Farney. The advance had to come from emergency funds, he said, not from county general funds that would have required county board action.

There's another payroll of about $240,000 coming up later this week, he said, and the nursing home had only about $160,000 on hand Monday morning.

"They haven't told me yet whether they're going to need help," Farney said of the management company, SAK Management Services LLC, which runs the facility.

But SAK officials said Monday night that a $130,000 payment from Moline Healthcare is expected this week and would be sufficient to cover the shortfall.

Meanwhile, the agenda for tonight's county board committee-of-the-whole meeting includes a forbearance agreement with a therapy services provider at the nursing home, setting up a special schedule of payments over 18 months to HealthPRO Therapy Services LLC, which was owed more than $330,000 by the nursing home as of Dec. 31, 2017.

And a second item on the agenda requires about $27,000 in county funds to cover the cost of the nursing home's property and liability insurance, which Farney said is overdue.

The forbearance agreement, said county board Chairman C. Pius Weibel, comes from HealthPRO.

"This is what they're offering to us. They said, 'This is what we'd like to do,'" Weibel said. "We have to decide if we want to accept it or not. If we say yes, that means we have to crank out an extra $18,000 a month.

"Or if they sue us, it would be pretty hard for us to defend."

In addition to a monthly payment of $17,775 plus 12 percent interest to HealthPRO, the agreement requires that the county will stay current with new billings, Farney said.

"That's a pretty huge undertaking," he said. "But it saves us from getting sued by another vendor. So it saves us legal fees."

Both Farney and Weibel said they were concerned about the 12 percent interest rate HealthPRO put in the proposed agreement.

Farney also said he is disappointed with the performance of SAK, which took over management of the nursing home last July.

"SAK has not done a good job of communicating when the news is bad. Quit hiding things, quit pretending it's not happening," said Farney, who said he intends to tell SAK officials the same thing at a private meeting today.

The nursing home has also been "unable to come up with" its portion of two months' worth of payment for the county's property and liability insurance, Farney said. The county board is scheduled to vote today on that $27,000 payment.

"Them not paying their portion of it could cause the cancellation of our insurance," he said. "That's why the self-funding insurance fund is being asked to cover it for the home, and will be billing it back to the nursing home. It's just increasing the debt they owe to the county."

As of last month, the nursing home owed more than $5.5 million, of which about $2.7 million was due to various county accounts.

SAK reported a $90,000 loss at the nursing home in December but blamed that on "one-time expenditures," including pay raises to employees and maintenance-related costs.

But the home's census has remained basically unchanged since SAK took over last summer. It averaged 132 in August and 137 in December. It was 139 on Monday.

"The financials are strong based on the fact that since we arrived, there's been a good, upward trend,"insisted SAK President Suzanne Koenig. "Any facility in the state of Illinois that has to rely on any kind of government funding, we never know when we're going to get paid. We never know when the state is going to release the check. We never know when Molina is going to hold onto their money and when they're going to get paid.

"They don't pay us until they get paid. We're all waiting in the same boat."

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