Canyonlands Healthcare Special Service District board members met with Mission Health Services President Gary Kelso on Friday, Feb. 8, to discuss the possibility.
“You have to become a low cost, high quality provider to survive,” Kelso said during the meeting. “If we can figure out how to put a Medicare program in here, that would help a lot.”
He noted that care centers offering skilled nursing do better financially because Medicare reimburses that type of care at three times the rate Medicaid pays for lesser services.
Mission Health Services, headquartered in Huntsville, offers medical, nursing and skilled care services and operates centers in Alpine Valley, Bear River Valley, Hillside and West Jordan. The company received the 2012 Best of State award for skilled nursing facilities, according to its website.
After last week’s meeting in Moab, health service district board members decided to show Mission the care center’s year-end financial records to help in crafting a potential strategy, if the firm were hired. The board also decided to invite a clinical representative from Mission Health to tour the local center to make recommendations about possible changes.
During the meeting, Kelso offered one observation about the center’s operations.
“I’ll bet your staffing is over what it needs to be,” he said.
Kelso said Mission Health could provide a variety of services for Canyonlands Care Center, including:
• Making sure all regularity requirements are being met.
• Looking into increasing revenue through skilled nursing, outpatient therapy and an enhanced hospice program.
• Determining if care is being delivered appropriately.
• Evaluating the type and suitability of current staffing.
“Every bit of this facility needs to be analyzed and reworked,” board member Kirstin Peterson said.
Kelso said he believes the care center, which has 36 beds, is big enough to be financially solid.
Board member Tom Edwards noted that staff turnover at Canyonlands Care Center is high. He said a solution for financial losses must be found quickly.
“We want to get the bleeding stopped as quickly as we can,” Edwards said.
Kelso said Mission Health is “excited about the possibility of working with you,” but the board did not make a decision last week. Board members indicated they probably would issue a request for proposals if they decide to pursue the management option.
Mission Health would manage the care center for 5 to 7 percent of the gross revenue, Kelso said. Board members estimated that would be about $8,500 per month.
Kelso promised that Mission Health would give the board a monthly financial and operations report.
“You’re going to know every month the direction we’re taking,” he said.
Another option is to hire a full-time administrator to oversee the care center.
In the meantime, the board will have its attorney draw up a contract to retain former Moab Regional Hospital CEO Roy Barraclough as interim administrator. Barraclough is already fulfilling those duties for the center. The contract would be for up to six months with a salary of $34,600 if Barraclough holds the position that long.
The board could discontinue the contract with 30 days’ notice, members said while discussing the details. Barraclough would be hired as an independent contractor and would not receive benefits.