One of the keys to minimizing financial losses at the McLean County Nursing Home will be forming partnerships with hospitals.
Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, County Board Chair John McIntyre said so-called Accountable Care Organizations involve close dialog between hospitals and nursing homes about the patients the hospitals refer for placement.
"The hospitals want to be confident that they're doing a good job in releasing people and giving good direction. It helps the communication between hospital staff, doctors, and nursing home staff to see that there is follow through and provision of proper care," said McIntyre.
McIntyre also said the nursing home will be seeking federal permission to waive a rule that requires three days of hospital stay before some Medicare patients can transfer to a nursing home. He said that will be appropriate for rehab patients.
And short-term nursing home stays devoted to post-procedure rehab can help the bottom line at the county-owned facility, said McIntyre. Medicare payments are at a higher level than Medicaid.
The blue ribbon panel report suggested it will be possible to create a separate entrance and treatment area for rehab patients.
The nursing home structure dates to the 1970s, when shared rooms were the norm. That's no longer true. But, McIntyre said it's possible the aging nursing home could last another several decades. That might even take the facility through the expected aging and passing of the baby boom generation.
McIntyre said earlier thinking that the building was too old to save is not right.
"It's correct the facility will not get any younger, but some of the renovations we thought would be prohibitive won't be. That's not the case. There are possibilities with that home. The upkeep can be better," said McIntyre.
McIntyre said over the next two years the county will do a facility assessment.
The nursing home lost $1.2 million last year. But the blue ribbon committee estimated even increasing the patient count by 10 to 20 patients on average would substantially reduce that red ink.
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