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Paynesville Press - June 2, 2005

PAHCS considers changes at nursing homes

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area Hospital District Board of Directors took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, May 25.

*The board formed a committee to examine the district's long-term care offerings and possiblities for revamping its nursing homes. The Paynesville Area Health Care System currently operates two nursing homes (the Koronis Manor in Paynesville and the Hilltop Care Center in Watkins), an assisted-living facility (Washburne Court in Paynesville), and an independent-living facility (700 Stearns Place in Paynesville).

The census for April at the Hilltop Care Center was 79.6 percent, well below its annual goal of 91 percent. For the current year, occupancy at Hilltop is 88.9 percent. Occupancy at the Koronis Manor is also below budget this year (95 percent budgeted versus 91.5 percent actual occupancy).

Occupancy at Washburne Court - which along with Hilltop was purchased by PAHCS from the Good Samaritan Society three years ago, in May 2002, and changed to assisted living - is actually above budget (98.4 percent actual versus 97 percent budgeted).

Occupancy at 700 Stearns Place is also strong (93.3 percent).

While long-term care is an important part of PAHCS's mission and business, the district needs to examine options, said board chairman Don Thomes. Long-term care comprises 20 to 25 percent of PAHCS's revenue, noted CED Steve Moburg.

The occupancy rates at the nursing homes continue a trend where patients have more options than ever to receive care in their own homes without residing in a nursing home. Nursing-home stays are also getting shorter and shorter.

Moburg noted that PAHCS purchased the two homes from the Good Samaritan Society with the intention to change its offerings in long-term care, which it has done by offering assisted living at Washburne Court, which currently has a waiting list.

The committee - Ross Amundson, Don Anderson, Bob Brauchler, Diane Rothstein, Vicki Ruegemer, Carolyn Swyter, and Thomes - will examine options for long-term care and report back to the board.

*The board approved an investment policy for the system, which now has nearly $1 million in cash reserves.

*The board approved the appointment of Patrick Heller, M.D., to the medical staff for C-sections on an on-call basis.

*The board's next meeting is Wednesday, June 29, at 8 p.m.

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