Nursing home operating in the black

Thursday, June 27, 2019

McCOOK, Neb. — The Hillcrest Nursing Home Board of Trustees took note of the facility holding down costs and making a profit last month.

Hillcrest is in the black for year-to-date costs and is on track for a positive number at the end of the year, cited board trustee present, Randy Dean, at the regular trustee meeting Wednesday morning.

“A year ago, we couldn’t have made the phone purchase,” Dean said, pointing out the $20,000 mentioned earlier in the meeting that will be used to pay for updating phones at the facility.

The board also commended department heads and staff for keeping costs down. Renee Wright, Hillcrest business manager, said by doing that, she’s been able to save for capital purchases needed in each department, such as a bladder scanner.

The board unanimously approved the monthly statement of operations presented by Wright.

Total operating costs for last month was $557,894,

with total monthly income at $583,004, a $25,100 profit, according to the operations report.

Total income, year-to-date, is $6,557,446, with total operating costs year-to-date at $6,500,766.

Wright said the Medicaid reimbursement rate is still 1% below actual costs, with reimbursements decreased two years ago by 7%, later increased back up to 6% below actual costs. Dean also recognized the committee of local individuals, who with local community members, contacted state senators repeatedly about Medicaid reimbursement rates disbursed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “It worked….we didn’t get everything we wanted, but it will make a little bit of difference.”

Other topics the board discussed Wednesday morning included:

-- The Hillcrest Foundation is funding improvements to the lobby, with new furniture, cleaning the drapes and re-arranging furniture. Those on the committee include Brad Cheek, Hillcrest administrator, Ann Barger, Hillcrest board member, Don Harpst, Norma Barnett and Corky Krizek

-- Current number of residents as of Wednesday was 79, with 2 in hospice, 15 Medicare, 25 private pay, 3 eligible for veteran benefits and 10 in assisting living, that is at capacity.

-- a 4th of July celebration for residents is Tuesday, July 2, with music at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at dusk

-- Great Plains Communication is working on replacing the phone system at the facility, with installation beginning the week of July 8. Hillcrest was able to get special pricing as a non-profit, Renee Wright said. The new system, with another Internet line, will allow department heads to get a direct line and bypass the front desk and allow staff members to access their phone messages at work by cell phone. Administrator Brad Cheek expressed relief over the new phone system, calling it “a far cry from the can and string we’ve been using.”

-- reviewed the quality insurance report, a preventative program where staff keeps tracks of trends or issues before it becomes a problem, such as falls or urinary tract infections.

-- the facility lost four certified nursing assistants, one activity aide and one dietary aid; and hired two CNAs and one registered nurse. Board member Mike Eklund asked if another international nurse should be hired and Tammi Simpson, Hillcrest director of nursing, said that wouldn’t be necessary as she’s hired a nurse from Kansas, has received an application from another nurse in Colorado and several licensed practical nurses recently graduated from Mid-Plains Community College.

Hillcrest, working with an agency that supplies international nurses for a contracted cost, already has one nurse who came from the Philippines and received her training in Texas. International nurses are paid the same rate as other registered nurses in the facility, said Simpson. Costs for this international nurse were approximately $1,350, with another nurse contracted but not actually hired yet. Hillcrest currently has five RNs, that includes managers and six LPNs, according to Simpson.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: