There are currently 189 clients being served at the facility with 26 being through Medicare, according to center administrator Dennis Burtnett.
“That’s the highest we’ve been in probably three months,” Burtnett said.
The state Choices program, which has impacted the guidelines for admissions to nursing homes, has made it more difficult to admit people to the facility, board member Wendy Beck said. Beck said the program can also create challenges if a client needs to stay longer.
Board chairman John Stanbery said he felt the Choices program was creating “unintended consequences” for nursing home facilities.
Other changes are affecting the Bradley County facility. Burtnett reported to the board that the Medicaid reimbursement rate decreased by $10. A decrease in this rate had been figured into the current year’s budget to help offset the decrease. Burtnett said there has also been some discussion at the state level about changing how the reimbursement rate is determined. Nothing is definite yet, according to Burtnett. If a change is made, it would not take effect until July 2013.
While operating cash for the facility saw an increase in October, there was still a deficit. Concerns were voiced about expenses being more than revenues. Board member Judy Gee said the board should look at ways the expenses can be more in line with the revenues.
“My concern is how long can we continue to go on with a negative (based on revenue),” board member and Bradley County Commissioner Robert Rominger said.
Burtnett said he and his leadership staff have been working on ways to increase revenue and decrease expenses.
“When your census (number of clients) is down, your revenues are down,” Burtnett said. “And the Choices program just won’t let us admit like we have in the past.”
Gee said if there are fewer clients, then the expenses should have decreased also. Stanbery suggested looking at what were fixed costs and which could have been changed from last month.
One contributing factor last month may have been added expenses due to treating viral conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye caused by a virus). Burtnett said this created expenses because of protective gear and how items used in treatment had to be handled. The issue has been cleared up and there are no more cases.
Also during the meeting, the board reviewed data from a recent survey given to families of residents. Burnett said the survey had a 47 percent response rate which he felt was great for the first time the survey was used. A separate survey is also being given to employees.
The facility scored high in satisfaction with nursing care and commitment to family updates. As is the state average, food quality scored lowest. Burtnett said this is common for facilities across the state. However, BHRC is working on a fine dining option to help increase satisfaction. Plans are also being drafted to improve the seven categories in which the facility scored lowest.