Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blaine Manor leaves big shoes to fill


    On Oct. 1, after 32 years of caring for valley seniors, the management of Blaine Manor will transfer to Safe Haven, a privately owned nursing-home operator. Safe Haven will move Blaine Manor residents to Bellevue once Safe Haven’s new nursing home is completed.
    As a member of the board of trustees, I was privileged to witness the loving and compassionate care provided by the caregivers at Blaine Manor. I came to appreciate our senior residents as valued members of our valley. Our seniors paved the way for many. Their contributions to this valley are considerable. These parents and grandparents made it possible for their families to live and work in this valley. We will miss you.

It was the people who made the difference, not the building.

    The commitment of the management and staff for ongoing excellence allowed Blaine Manor to be far more than just an aging facility. It was the people who made the difference, not the building. The staff at Blaine Manor provided a quality of care day after day that allowed us to consistently receive four- and five-star ratings from Medicare—the most recent, a five-star rating awarded last month. Eight straight Schoonover awards for excellence in care were also presented to Blaine Manor by the state of Idaho. Safe Haven has big shoes to fill.
    Valley residents need to know that previous county commissioners and Manor trustees fully supported the vision and efforts to build the Croy Canyon Ranch Continuing Care Retirement Community. County taxpayer funds were loaned to support Croy’s initial phases. In 2010, county voters overwhelmingly supported a levy to help with Manor operations. The levy allowed Croy more time to raise funds. When Croy was unable to raise the needed funds, and in response to the county’s request for proposals to remove the county from the nursing-home business, Blaine Manor trustees offered our “Plan B,” a remodel of the skilled-nursing side and construction of assisted-living units in the old hospital wing. The project was to be funded by a levy. Resident income from assisted living was to be allocated to cover the annual skilled-nursing deficit to the county. Management was to be transferred to Tanabell, a nursing-home company in Pocatello. After one year, Tanabell agreed to operate the facility with no further burden to county taxpayers.  
    We fought hard for this option, but after many months of hearings, two of three county commissioners finally voted in favor of Safe Haven. The county retains ownership of Blaine Manor and will likely sell it once Safe Haven moves Manor residents to Bellevue.
    Our dedicated employees, both past and present, deserve thanks. We can’t list them all, but here are a few: retired head administrator, Gail Goglia, RN, who guided operations for 13 years; Stephanie Jaskowski who served ably under Gail, and as current administrator will help Safe Haven with the transition phase; Margaret Gartner RN, director of nursing; Caryn Long, resident services; Shiela Dahlman, human resources; Anette Christiansen, dietary manager; Michael Ayers, activities coordinator; and Dennis Hennefer, maintenance supervisor. Thanks to the occupational therapists, physical therapists and our consulting physicians. Also, a special thanks goes to the Blaine Manor Auxiliary, whose members answered many special needs by giving their time and by fundraising for special equipment.
    Thanks go to fellow trustees Marsha Riemann (chair), as well as Pete Van Der Meulen, Linda Haavik, and Commissioner Angenie McCleary for volunteering their many hours of service. Thanks to previous trustees Mary Ann Mix (chair), the late John Chapman, Rick Baird, and Commissioners Dennis Wright and Sara Michael, who facilitated the financial help to Croy from the county.
    Finally, our thanks go to you, the citizens and taxpayers of Blaine County. You volunteered your time. gave financial support and attended county meetings. You believed in us and you stepped up for our seniors when they needed you. On behalf of my fellow trustees, I can say unequivocally that we value and greatly appreciate that trust, and we admire your big hearts. We look forward to a smooth transfer to Safe Haven, and we wish our seniors well.

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