Below are the August 4th County Board minutes of the discussion of hiring a consultant to made recommendations on the future of Valley Hi.
The County nursing home, an enterprise account (meaning it is separate from other parts of McHenry County government), has over $41 million in the bank, yet the County Board is on track to tax property owners another $3 million next year. The annual budget, which pretty much breaks even, is $10-11 million a year.
The County Finance Committee is going to take a separate vote on whether to continue taxing real estate owners, despite the enormous surplus.
At the bottom of this post are the phone numbers of the members of the Finance Committee, whom I hope you will call with your opinion.
Minutes on Valley Hi Discussion on Valley Hi Market Demand Analysis
A motion and a second was made to approve the above-named Resolution.
Chairman [Joe] Gottemoller asked for any discussion.
Ms. [Diane] Evertsen asked how many empty beds Valley Hi generally has and if we have the authority to promote alternative uses from what the tax payers voted on.
She said Valley Hi exists because the tax payers voted to support a nursing home for the residents of McHenry County.
Mr. [Tom] Annarella responded on average Valley Hi has about four open beds a day.
On taking people from McHenry County only, the SAO has opined twice that as long as we participate in Medicaid admissions have to be open to the State of IL and as long as we participate in Medicare admissions have to be open to anyone in the country.
Mr. Annarella said the scope of this project is to look at what needs are not being met that we can do already within the confines of their facility i.e. programming specific to Dementia or otherwise which do not go beyond the scope of the tax levy.
They are not looking to build more buildings or add employees to the payroll.
Mr. [Ken] Koehler agreed with the need for this analysis.
As someone who sits on the boards of healthcare facilities, there have been a lot of changes going on thanks in part by Obamacare and a lot has to do with population health which he feels is a good concept.
He feels it’s important to do this study because we’re not only looking at the care of Valley Hi residents but all those in McHenry County who may need the services.
Ms. [Donna] Kurtz agreed with Mr. Koehler and asked about the issue of non-county residents being at Valley Hi at any given time.
Mr. Annarella said currently there is one non McHenry County resident in Valley Hi who has been there for 15 plus years. They came to Valley Hi because of a unique ability to being able to provide care for a special need that doesn’t necessarily meet the norm of long term care.
At any given time since he’s been there has only been two non county residents on the case load.
He said with long term care you are going to reside in a long term facility that is either in your town or in the town of your primary power of attorney so that they can get to and from the nursing home quickly and be able to visit.
It’s not a common thing to have out of county residents at Valley Hi.
Mr. [John] Hammerand asked if the funding that Valley Hi receives through the referendum is an acceptable to use for this study.
If the study shows other recommended uses that are not in the verbiage that was used in the referendum are they allowed.
Chairman Gottemoller responded that we don’t know what those things are because nothing has been identified and the SAO would be giving a legal opinion on if we would be allowed to use those funds for a certain purpose, not Valley Hi.
Mr. Annarella said part of the vacancy that they may have is because a resident is in the hospital so they’re not on the case load but by state regulation they can’t fill their bed with another person.
Their bed is placed on bed hold; if their private pay they get a small fraction of the daily rate to pay for the holding of the bed; if they’re Medicaid there is no payment for the bed hold but is must be held.
A bed might be available because of an isolation case.
Because Valley Hi was designed with only five private rooms if a resident must be in isolation they can tie up two beds for a short period of time.
In relation to occupancy per day Valley Hi is by far higher than the state average and McHenry County average.
The waiting list must work within case mix, i.e. 80/20/20 or 80 Medicaid beds, 20 Medicare and 20 private which leaves 8 beds in flux.
Other things are taken into consideration such as male/female or a patient who has been accepted but they haven’t been discharged yet.
Mr. Annarella said for the most part all of the beds are being spoken for in one way or another.
Mr. Wheeler asked what types of services we could offer if there are no beds available.
Mr. Annarella said one could be to transition to a certified Dementia and Alzheimer’s wing where with minor adjustments serve those patients under the State’s new guidelines.
We do currently provide care for those but if you move into that area there is a specific criteria with it’s own regulations.
Mr. [Nick] Provenzano asked if any studies from the private sector have been looked at.
Mr. Annarella said that a Certificate of Need process to determine bed availability or need is not public knowledge. He does know that a project was approved in the Huntley area but it has not been started yet.
The Certificate was issued about two years ago.
The things being looked at recently in our area have been specific to skilled care.
Mr. Koehler said that Alzheimer’s and Dementia is a very expensive area to be supplying care in and things are not being built because people aren’t getting Federal money to do it.
= = = = =
First, call the members of the Finance Committee (which are no longer listed in the County Clerk’s Yearbook):
- Mike Skala, Chmn – 847-669-3804 or 847-417-4323
- Jim Heisler, VC – 815-459-1971 or 815-459-0171
- Yvonne Barnes – 847-516-2719
- Mary McCann – 815-568-1961 or 815-245-9282
- Nick Provenzano – 815-355-8540
- Larry Smith – 815-353-8043
- Chuck Wheeler – 847-354-3693 or 815-307-8525
All of the County Board members’ phone numbers can be found here.