The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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January 29, 2013

Dialysis center opens at nursing home

KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP —  A new dialysis center at the Ashtabula County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is treating its first patient, commissioners learned Monday.

The patient, who is not a resident of the home, began treatment at the DaVita center on Jan. 21 as part of the licensing process. Mary Lou Clatterbuck, administrator of the nursing home, told commissioners in a work session that the patient will be treated for six weeks, during which time the state will make a random inspection of the facility. At the end of that inspection, the operator will know if the outpatient service can begin full-time operation.

The dialysis company is leasing space from the county to provide the service, which will be available to residents and non-residents. The lease will provide income for the nursing home, but the bigger benefit could be attracting more residents to the facility.

Maureen Wern, a member of the Generations Healthcare team that manages the home for the county, told commissioners that having the DaVita dialysis center on site could become a marketing tool for the facility.

“So many residents who live in other nursing homes have to travel to dialysis in a van,” she said.

The census at the home has been holding steady for the last three years; Clatterbuck told commissioners that it ended the year at 124 residents and briefly saw the census flirt with 130 in December.

 Increasing the census is a way the county can make up for loss in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. Generations’ management team presented a financial forecast for 2013 that mirrors 2012’s performance: essentially a break-even scenario unless the federal budget ends up going over the fiscal cliff, in which case Medicare reimbursements could be cut 2 percent. That would be an impact of about $42,000 in revenue, according to the team’s forecast.

Concurrent with watching the bottom line on the operation, commissioners have asked the management team to come up with a prioritized list of capital projects. Smolen Engineering, as part of its review of most county-owned buildings several years ago, pointed out serious issues with the nursing home’s flat roofs, problems that will require millions of dollars to address.

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