Iowa county helps fund struggling county-run care center
Aug. 09, 2017
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A county in northeast Iowa has decided to use $500,000 to help a county-run nursing and mental health care center that's struggling financially.
The Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to transfer the money from the county general fund reserves to the Country View care center, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported .
County Finance Director Susan Deaton said the care center's funds were less than $85,000 last week. The center lost more than $600,000 in fiscal year 2016, and it's expected to see losses this year.
County officials have been seeking a solution for the care center's financial struggles. Board Chairman Frank Magsamen said the board is expected to have a work session in the next two weeks to discuss the center's future.
"We wanted to run it as an enterprise operation and have it be self-sustaining," Magsamen said.
The center has many Medicare and Medicaid clients, whose federal reimbursements don't cover operating costs. That makes it difficult for the center to remain financially stable without support from the county.
Supervisor Craig White said he wouldn't vote to close the center. Country View has more than 140 residents.
"I feel we've got a responsibility to those people," White said. "Most of them, it's not their fault they're out there. It's just something that happened in their life that's unfortunate. It could be any one of us at any given time."
While adopting the budget in February, board members noted that the county could transfer up to $1 million to help support the center this year.
Black Hawk County has supported the center with property tax funds over the years even though doing so isn't a state-mandated service. Dubuque is the only other county in the state that still supports nursing homes.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com