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Economy affects some nursing home residents

Staff writer

Nursing home administrators are making efforts to insulate residents from the effects of a state Medicaid cut, but sometimes their hands are tied.

Frances Kreutziger moved to Parkside Homes in Hillsboro about two years ago. She is happy with the facility and its staff.

“Our help is so nice and friendly,” she said. “They’re so good.”

Kreutziger likes that she is able to furnish her room with her own belongings.

“It’s comforting to have your own things,” she said.

But her peace was disturbed when she moved to a different room. Administrators at Parkside Homes converted 10 rooms from one- to two-bed accommodations, and Kreutziger’s room was among those changed. The change was made to increase revenue by increasing capacity, Chief Executive Officer Lu Janzen said.

Moving was difficult Kreutziger said, but she has adjusted to her new room.

Parkside Homes decided to pursue the additional revenue as an alternative to cutting staff, Administrator Gretchen Wagner said. Kansas implemented a 10 percent cut in Medicaid funding Jan. 1, and that cut works out to about $180,000 per year for Parkside Homes, she said.

The 10 rooms that were converted were originally built to be two-person rooms, but the facility had the good fortune to be able to use them as single rooms until recently, Wagner said.

Until the economic downturn, the Parkside Homes’ board planned to replace the remaining traditional nursing home building with more home-like facilities, Janzen said. Financial issues forced the board to set those plans aside for now.

“We’re not going to give up,” Janzen said. “It’s just a little detour.”

Last modified Feb. 11, 2010

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