Some good news for Nursing Home

LTC receives larger than expected Pro-share payment

TONASKET – The North Valley Hospital Board learned that the hospital will receive nearly twice as much in Disproportionate Share Payments from the state for the Long Term Care (LTC) as it did the previous year.

The Pro-Share payment for 2015 will be $399,805, compared to $201,000 in 2014. While the extra cash was a good thing, the district is still looking at a loss in the Long Term Care Division, according to numbers shared with the board by District CEO Linda Michel. The payment, with a $30,000 lower Labor & Industries statement, will cut the LTC Division’s projected loss down from $809,145 to $558,572.

Chief Financial Officer Helen Verhasselt explained that the reason the payment was larger was because there were only six remaining nursing homes that were still attached to hospitals in the state and that some hospital districts were no longer participating in the program “because it is a lot of work.” The money that was budgeted by the legislature was divided amongst a smaller group and that caused the payment increase.

However, she cautioned the district could not rely on the payment to be there in future years.

Verhasslelt went over the financials for November, explaining that December’s, being the end of the year, were not yet available.

“I like the numbers,” said Helen Casey, chairman of the hospital board.

“I do too, especially when you consider it was payroll day, also when we are on a 16 day medicare payment delay. For November the hospital had a net of $38,000 while the extended care lost $45,000,” said Verhasselt.

“The VA Clinic for November currently has 745 vets, last year it was 681 so it’s continually growing,” she said. “If you look department by department the VA Clinic is not making a profit either.”

The CFO said that the district was asking the Veterans Administration to increase the amount of reimbursement for services.

“The service is extremely worthwhile so we are going to renegotiate our contract and hope to offer more services,” she said.

Verhasselt said swing bed use had gone from an average of 3.74 in 2013 to 4.25 in 2014 and that the district had room to add more.

“Registered warrants last year were over $1 million, as of today we have cash on hand of $119,593. We should also be receiving $194,000 from the state because they underpaid us that much in 2013,” she said.

On the extended care side Verhasselt said she felt that of the six hospital districts with nursing homes, NVH’s had the most Medicaid patient days at 16,035. The next highest she said was Newport with 9,067.

“We are losing about $50 per resident per day. Forks is losing about $208 per resident per day. What that tells us is we are working a lot more efficiently than other facilities,” she said.

The Thursday, Jan. 8 meeting actually began with a one-hour closed door executive session. Most of the public who were attending, some sitting in the hallway because the boardroom was overflowing, waited patiently for the board to return. Afterwards the board took public comment and heard impassioned pleas for finding a way to keep the nursing home open. They also heard some praise for outgoing hospital administrator Michel and others on the staff for there efforts to pay off the hospital’s warrants.

The next meeting of the North Valley Hospital board is on Thursday, Jan. 22. Chairman Helen Casey said the board would try to find a larger meeting place if there were as many in attendance as there were last Thursday night.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.