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County cuts some positions at nursing home
Meadville Tribune - 2/25/2021
Feb. 25—Facing a potential $500,000 or more budget shortfall at the Crawford County Care Center by the end of 2021, county commissioners have moved to cut some positions.
At their meeting Wednesday, commissioners unanimously voted to eliminate admissions and marketing, co-activity director and restorative coordinator positions at the county-owned nursing home. However, they also created a clinical case manager position there.
The moves are part of a realignment of staffing due to a drop in the number of residents.
The 157-bed nursing home in Saegertown currently has a resident population, or census, of 108 with fewer staff needed.
"These are challenging times," Eric Henry, chairman of commissioners, said following the meeting. "We've lost almost one-fifth of our census compared to 2020 as all nursing homes have done" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're facing a projected potential deficit of between $500,000 to $900,000 for 2021 if we didn't do something to reduce costs," he said.
The center is enduring high costs such as spending as much as $18,000 per week on mandatory COVID-19 testing of residents and staff plus additional costs associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.
The center had to buy PPE and do required testing in 2020 but it didn't rack up a deficit because of CARES Act funding in 2020 to cover those costs, Henry said. The federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act provided funding to cover losses and expenses due to the pandemic.
Commissioners don't know yet if there will be additional federal CARES Act funding in 2021.
In a related move, the county approved the hiring of Tonya Moyer as full-time nursing administrator at the home, effective March 5.
Moyer has been the home's administrator since 2020, but was working as an employee of Affinity Health Service of Indiana, Pa. The county has been using Affinity as a management firm for the nursing home since it signed a three-year contract with the company in 2019.
The county is paying Affinity $325,000 this year for management services plus paying Moyer's annual Affinity salary of $105,000.
Moyer now has been hired as a county employee at $105,000, but with no benefits.
Commissioners said they also are looking to renew the management contract with Affinity, but at a reduced rate because of the drop in the home's census due to the pandemic.
"We're all very comfortable with her," Henry said of Moyer as administrator. "We felt it was the right time to do it and we wanted to have a voice (in management) as we move forward. We need to keep a close eye on this."
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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