EDITORIAL: Nursing home downsizing makes senseDespite all the uproar over the recent decision to cut the St. Croix County Health Center nursing home’s operation to 50 licensed beds, the Health and Human Service Board got it right last week when they officially endorsed the idea.
Despite all the uproar over the recent decision to cut the St. Croix County Health Center nursing home’s operation to 50 licensed beds, the Health and Human Service Board got it right last week when they officially endorsed the idea.
Yes, St. Croix County voters had overwhelmingly approved the April 3 referendum indicating that they wanted to continue to use tax dollars to subsidize the county-owned facility.
And, yes, some HHS Board members were blindsided by the sudden revelation that the drop from 72 beds to 50 beds was considered an operational matter left in the hands of managerial employees of the county.
But when the smoke finally cleared at the end of the HHS Board meeting April 4, the financial challenges of the nursing home remained unchanged.
Without a drop to 50 beds, at which point the nursing home improves its bottom line due to higher reimbursement levels and lower bed taxes, the drain on the county’s tax levy would continue to be an issue for years to come. And there was no way to estimate how much tax funding would be required each year, as census numbers fluctuated and maintenance expenses mounted.
The nursing home’s best chance for future survival, financial consultants and numerous public officials suggest, is to take the step toward more efficiency and reducing the number of levy dollars needed to keep the operation afloat.
With the uncertainty of resident numbers growing even more uncertain as The Deerfield’s new nursing home opens this summer, the county nursing home and its managers needed to listen to the advice they’ve been hearing for months. A 50-bed facility will meet the needs of the community’s aging population, while also helping to shield taxpayers from massive, unexpected bills at the end of the year.