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Assisted living facility and nursing home closing in Minden

The Grand Island Independent - 1/6/2018

MINDEN - The Kearney County Health Services board of trustees voted Friday to close Hinterlong Living for Seniors and Countryside Living Nursing Home in Minden.

Despite many of the approximately 75 community members at Friday's town hall meeting asking the board to table the vote and try to find a way to keep the facilities open, the board members felt closing the homes was the only way for KCHS to operate in the black.

Many criticized the board for the short notice staff and residents were given about the possible closure and not giving community members an opportunity to voice their opinions. Friday's town hall was one of two the board conducted.

"I also would say that it was our intent to limit the exposure and protect our facility, residents and staff. There was no way any attempt to mislead or stay secretive," said board member Jeff Hanson. "We, as a board, will learn from this and be as transparent as we can be to do our job effectively while keeping the facility, patients and staff in mind."

KCHS's total deficit for 2017 through October was approximately $787,000, and about $315,000 of that total was a deficit from the assisted living and nursing home facilities. Without the two homes, KCHS will be able to operate in the black, said KCHS CEO Luke Poore.

The lack of Medicaid expansion in the state was one reason that Hinterlong and Countryside continued to struggle, said Hanson.

"Why this is important is because the definition of Medicaid uses for poverty level is currently excluded for many people. Most of them can't afford health care. The care is still given in this population but they are rarely paid for. A lot of times it is given in high-cost areas like the emergency room. This contributes to our bad debt, our being KCHS health facility, which in turn affects our bottom line. So it does have something to do with this facility," he said.

With about 30 residents and 50 employees, Poore said 95 percent of the residents have committed to moving to Bethany Home in Minden. That facility also will have 10-12 staff positions open, and they will give priority to Countryside and Hinterlong staff. They do plan to extend the closure date from Feb. 28 to April 30, and they will work with residents to give them as much time as possible to find new residences, Poore said.



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