Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Croy, Blaine Manor: We need more time

Organizations say they want to work together

Express Staff Writer

Blaine Manor staff member Caryn Long visits with residents Jo Tropea and Dorothy Feder at the Hailey care facility last month. Board members from both the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation and Blaine Manor said during a county meeting on Tuesday that they might be able to work together on a senior-care solution. Photo by Roland Lane

The Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation and Hailey-based Blaine Manor asked for more time to modify their proposals for continued skilled-nursing care on Tuesday, as Blaine County commissioners were poised to complete evaluations of three senior-care plans.

The commissioners met Tuesday to discuss a timeline for final deliberations and decisions on a new senior care facility. They’ve been discussing the issue for nearly a year, and have been considering three proposals since October.

The first came from the Blaine Manor board of trustees in conjunction with Pocatello-based TanaBell Health Services. TanaBell would take over management of Blaine Manor, expand the facility to include assisted living units and streamline expenses. The company has requested a two-year $6 million levy to defray startup and remodel costs.

The second was from the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation and Texas-based Greystone Communities, which proposes building a three-tier senior care facility that would include assisted-living, skilled-nursing and independent-living units.

The foundation originally requested a $29.2 million general obligation bond for construction and startup costs, but lowered its request to $18 million earlier this month. The bonds would mature in 35 years, and the question would be placed on the ballot in May 2014. A temporary levy for $500,000 to fund the manor’s operating shortfall would appear on ballots this May.

The third proposal comes from Pocatello-based Safe Haven Health Care, which offers to take over Blaine Manor and absorb operating shortfalls until its new facility would open, after which the Medicare/Medicaid certification currently retained by Blaine Manor would be transferred to Safe Haven’s Bell Mountain Facility in Bellevue.

But Linda Haavik, vice-chairwoman of the Blaine Manor board, asked commissioners Tuesday for more time for the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation and the Blaine Manor board to work together and discuss their proposals.

“Obviously, we’re very interested in an answer, a conclusion,” she said, adding that the boards are discussing ways in which they can meet the commissioners’ criteria for a senior care facility.

“I know we’ve had the opportunity for a long time,” she said. “But as you know, there is cause and effect and here we are at what is an eleventh hour.”

In an interview, foundation Executive Director Kathleen Eder declined to clarify whether Blaine Manor and the foundation would develop a new proposal together, eliminating the group’s individual proposals, or if the boards were merely ironing out details of the foundation’s proposal.

Foundation Campaign Chair Anita McCann said the foundation and Blaine Manor started the process very close in their ideas for a new senior care facility, then drifted apart and now are likely to come up with similar solutions again. She said the time it’s taken is worth it to come up with a good solution.

“It’s taken this kind of consideration,” she said. “We’re not just talking about a process here, we’re talking about the elders in Blaine County. The best plan will come from our meeting of the minds.”

Eder said she hoped the foundation and Blaine Manor could work together on a solution.

“It’s better when we can work together,” she said after the meeting.

Commissioner Larry Schoen said Tuesday that he has set a firm timeline for a final decision on the future of skilled nursing and senior care in Blaine County, despite the new request from the foundation and Blaine Manor. Despite a cancellation of a special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Schoen said he believes a decision on senior care would be made next month.

“I envision that we will have made a decision how to move forward no later than Feb. 12,” he said.

The commissioners are set to see a presentation from the Blaine Manor board and the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation on Tuesday, Jan. 22, and will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Schoen said the official deliberations would begin Tuesday, Jan. 29, during a regular meeting of the board.

Schoen said he was not considering any proposals that would include the creation of a county hospital board, as suggested by Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves at a meeting last week.

Graves suggested that the county could form a hospital board that would govern operations of a new senior care facility. This would mean the new facility would be owned by the county, but the county would be able to protect any taxpayer investment in a facility by ensuring that it doesn’t close if the company managing it were to fail.

Schoen repeated this week that he would not consider a county hospital, and that the option was “off the table” for him. However, Commissioners Jacob Greenberg and Angenie McCleary did not comment and did not rule out that possibility during either last week’s or this week’s meetings.


Meeting canceled

A special meeting of the Blaine County commissioners tonight, Jan. 16, to discuss senior care has been canceled. The meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Kate Wutz:


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