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By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer
TanaBell Health Services faced opposition from elected officials and members of the public during a special meeting called to discuss senior care Thursday morning, despite advocates’ saying the company’s proposal could maintain local control while relieving the county of a long-term funding burden.
Troy Bell, CEO of the Pocatello-based company, clarified his proposal for taking over the Blaine Manor skilled nursing facility in Hailey. By asking for a voter-approved $4 million levy, Bell said, his company intends to remodel the Blaine Manor facility and cover construction and operating shortfalls in the short term.
The remodel would include the addition of between 20 and 25 assisted living units, which would be more profitable for the company and help cover the shortfall from the existing 25 skilled nursing beds.
Bell also said the existing Blaine Manor board could remain as an advisory board for the facility.
Blaine Manor board member Linda Haavik said the board would be open to allowing Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation a number of years to raise funds to build a tiered-care facility west of Hailey. She said that if the facility is ready, the licenses, patients and certifications from Blaine Manor could be transferred, and it could be managed by TanaBell.
One benefit, Bell said, is that he would be fully committed to retaining skilled nursing in the state, provided that Medicare and Medicaid continue to be funded by the state and federal government.
“As long as the state provides licenses and funding, you’ll have long-term skilled nursing care in the community,” he said.
Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who has been an outspoken supporter of the plan, reiterated during the meeting today that she believes that TanaBell and Blaine Manor would be most likely to provide a high level of care for the seniors of Blaine County.
“I have received numerous calls and emails from people [about Safe Haven],” she said. “They have raised concerns in a number of areas.”
Pocatello-based Safe Haven Health Care and Safe Haven CEO Scott Burpee presented for the second time last week a proposal that included building a campus-type facility with several “pods” of units that could be switched from assisted living to skilled nursing and vice-versa according to market demands.
The proposal does not involve a levy, and the company would take over operations and shortfalls at Blaine Manor starting in October until completion of its planned Bell Mountain facility in Bellevue.
McCleary said she heard from community members who decided not to put relatives in Safe Haven homes after visiting the facilities, from a former employee of Safe Haven who had a negative experience and from members of the Blaine Manor board who expressed concern.
“They could have endorsed Safe Haven, but they didn’t,” she said. “That is a measure of their opinion of [Safe Haven’s] quality of care.”
She also stated concern about three lawsuits against Burpee that involved his previous company, Valley Vista Care Corp.
Original Source: http://www.mtexpress.com/
Article first ran in the Idaho Mountain Express on Feb. 1, 2013