Iowa county again bails out struggling nursing home
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Black Hawk County supervisors have again bailed out a struggling county-run nursing home in Iowa.
The county Board of Supervisors voted Oct. 24 to transfer $500,000 of general fund reserves to the Country View care center in Waterloo, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported . The center has received about $1 million in support from the county in the past three months in an attempt to make the nursing home self-sustaining.
Country View is one of two remaining county-run nursing homes in Iowa. It houses 142 residents.
The nursing home was placed in an enterprise fund that is separate from the county general fund in 2011. The fund reached a balance of $4.8 million in tax dollars before the money was lost due to growing operating losses.
The county is finishing up accounting for the fiscal year that ended last June, which may reveal more bad financial news, said Susan Deaton, the county’s finance director.
“As it turns out, the loss for last year might be a lot more significant than we anticipated,” she said.
County officials said the nursing home’s operating losses are due to its high number of Medicaid clients and large percentage of residents with mental health conditions. The Medicaid program reimburses the nursing home for about 80 percent of patient care costs.
The nursing home is also struggling to fill staff positions and has had to rely on temporary staffing agencies. County officials said Country View has a good employee benefit package, but struggles to compete against private sector nursing homes on wage rates.
County officials have held multiple work sessions and worked with a consulting firm to search for a solution to the nursing home’s financial problems.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com