Hillcrest finds $230,000 in unpaid accounts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

McCOOK, Nebraska -- As of Tuesday, Hillcrest Nursing Home is at total capacity with 100 residents and between 10 to 12 on a waiting list.

The county-owned nursing home seems to have turned a corner from the precarious financial situation it found itself in in July 2012, when it received a $1 million loan from Red Willow County to cover expenses.

At that time, Hillcrest Board of Trustees and interim director Jerry Rothmeyer told county commissioners that after a billing clerk's employment was terminated in February 2012, three months of Medicare and Medicaid claims that should have been filed for payment were not, claims that usually generated about $225,000 per month for the facility.

A sale of bed licenses also did not go as quickly as expected, so another $250,000 the facility was counting on was not on hand. (That sale was later completed in November 2012.)

According to the Red Willow County clerk's office, Hillcrest made its first payment in September 2013 on the $1 million loan with $223,000, and will pay about $222,000 each year for the next four years on the loan, until September 2017 when it's paid off. The loan, from McCook National Bank, is at 3.55 percent interest.

Hillcrest Board of Trustees were told Tuesday morning by Hillcrest administrator, Colinda Nappa, that the facility was full at about 100, (compared to 87 this time in 2013), with nine in the assisted living unit, (10 is capacity), 11 in skilled care, 47 private pay, 37 state paid and five VA residents. Another 10 to 12 were on a waiting list.

The facility's full house was a testimony to Nappa's leadership and to the staff, said trustee vice president Randy Dean.

"Things are looking up. It's been a hard road to get to this point, but now we have to maintain it," he said, citing reducing costs in pool labor for nursing.

If assisted living becomes full with 10 residents, staff will have a party with cake and ice cream, Nappa said, adding that she has agreed to kiss a pig for the occasion.

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