Hillcrest turns bills over for collections

Thursday, October 29, 2015

McCOOK, Neb. -- About a half million dollars of payments due to Hillcrest Nursing Home have been turned over to an attorney for collection.

Hillcrest administrator Colina Nappa told the Hillcrest Board of Trustees Tuesday morning that an agreement has been signed with Nate Mustion, who also serves as the McCook City attorney, at $150 per hour, for help in collecting the outstanding payments. A total of $507,386.84 is currently due the facility.

"My hope is that we can collect at least half of it," Nappa said.

Hillcrest is owned by Red Willow County but operates on its own revenue. The county commissioners have one representative present at Board of Trustee meetings -- Earl McNutt for this rotation -- and appoints board members.

One outstanding bill that has been turned over to the state attorney's office is for alleged Medicaid fraud, Nappa said. The case has been investigated and criminal charges may be pending.

Payments due to Hillcrest have put a dent in the financials, she told the board Tuesday, which she has been trying to remedy. In July, after board approval, room rates were increased by $12 per day, with daily cost for a private room now starting at $204. Rising costs of vendors was also cited as a factor for the rate increase.

Cost-saving measures discussed by the board included declining the offer to buy a 2010 van that a local individual offered to the facility for $26,000.

The 2010 van was purchased locally by the individual and is equipped for wheelchair transportation, with a lift and sliding doors on each side. It was purchased for a family member of the individual that has passed away. Currently the facility has one wheelchair-accessible van that is used for out-of-town trips. Other vehicles include a bus and two pickups.

Nappa said she would have liked to purchase the van as it was a good deal, but wasn't sure where the money could come from in the budget.

The board briefly discussed the purchase, debating if the present owner of the vehicle would accept a lower price. In the end, they decided the current financial situation did not support the purchase. "If you can't afford it, you can't afford it," said board member Janice Bamesburger. "And right now, we can't afford it."

Other business the board discussed included:

* updating the bylaws of the Board of Trustees, that included changing Nappa's title from CEO/executive director/administrator to executive director; and trustees having access to resident information which directly impacts the essential job function of the trustee, such as information that is related to potential litigation.

* staffing report: four registered nurses and four certified nurse's aides are still needed. A satisfaction survey on supervisors was recently distributed to employees and Nappa indicated that it helped pinpoint areas of training that could be addressed.

As of Tuesday, the 100-bed facility had 94 residents, three less than this time last year. This includes 40 private pay residents, 37 state-paid Medicaid, five paid by the Veterans Administration, five in assisted living, 11 in skilled nursing and one in hospice.

After the regular meeting, the board met in closed executive session for potential litigation.

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