Nursing home closing to impact hospital

The closure of Valley View Manor probably will not affect The Memorial Hospital's critical access status but the financial blow will be significant, said hospital Administrator Randy Phelps Tuesday.

TMH estimates it will lose $500,000 a year in net income because of the loss of the nursing home.

TMH gained critical access status in March 2002.

That licensure category gained the hospital $1.7 million in extra Medicare reimbursements in the 15 months since the conversion, said Phelps.

However, much of that money was for care provided to Medicare patients from Valley View Manor. With those patients now absent, a large potential for Medicare reimbursements is gone, too.

Valley View Manor was the "discharge destination of choice" for patients needing long-term care beyond that provided by TMH.

"One way or another, we need to establish a long-term care facility in our community," Phelps said.

To that end, Phelps said he is working with the city and county on a plan to reestablish a nursing home.

Within 60 days, Phelps said he hopes to have a clear sense of direction with regard to the future of long-term care in Craig.

Phelps signed a confidentiality agreement with Mariner Health Care and requested documentation from the company about Valley View Manor, including financial reports, state survey results, and staffing and census information.

But Phelps said he signed the five-page agreement only after striking out "things that were objectionable."

Phelps has not yet received the documentation he requested.

TMH is working on a feasibility study that Phelps said he hopes will enable community leaders to make decisions regarding long-term care in the community.

A private enterprise is also is working to establish a nursing home and Phelps said he will be supportive of those efforts.

"We need to work through all the options until there's a solution," Phelps said.

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