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McLean County Nursing Home sees financial rebound as its census grows

Exterior of Nursing Home

The McLean County Nursing Home has cost county government millions of dollars to run in recent years, and that has had the county's elected leaders concerned.

At one point, the county brought in a panel of experts to come up with ways to improve the facility. Several County Board members have suggested the county try to sell the facility.

But 2022 showed signs of a rebound.

The long-term care facility in Normal showed a $500,000 profit through the first 11 months of 2022. Much of that is due to federal COVID relief as the facility received about $1.2 million through the American Rescue Plan Act to help pay for contract staffing.

Nursing home administrator Tim Wiley, who has been on the job for just over a year, said the financial turnaround is also the result of attracting more residents, expanding rehab services, adding a hospice wing, and adding staff to improve care.

Tim Wiley
Tim Wiley

The facility’s census grew by 26% last year, based on the latest data available. Wiley said he expects a greater turnaround this year.

“It is absolutely sustainable,” Wiley said in an interview on WGLT’s Sound ideas. “It was getting some solid footing financially. It also allowed us to see some of the potential that is there to where in 2023, we are planning on that trajectory to continue.”

Wiley said the nursing home has cut expenses and is getting much better reimbursements for its Medicare and Medicaid residents. He said part of that was due to a new state law to boost funding for Medicaid-funded facilities.

“The other part of it is we are paying attention now to the documentation and the data we need to provide to them,” Wiley said. A vast majority of the nursing home’s residents are public pay.

Wiley said the county nursing home has increased staff to greatly the reduce the number of travel nurses needed to provide care. He said some travel nurses joined the staff when their temporary contracts expired. Wiley said at one point, the nursing home relied on costlier travel nurses to cover 57% of shifts last year. That number has been trimmed to 21%.

Wiley said the nursing home will explore whether it can reduce capacity to satisfy demand for more private rooms.

“Do we have room operationally to reduce our capacity and thus provide more private rooms for individuals, which will give us stronger market relevance. It will also help us with the staffing situation and customer service,” Wiley said.

Wiley said the nursing home has no plans to explore a facility expansion.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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