One Year Recap
As an independent, self-employed entrepreneur I have had a successful year of advocacy, education and protection. My mission is to advocate for the aging, witness for their protection, and mentor for positive outcomes in the field of healthcare.
My commitment to Lemmon Area Medical Association (LAMA) and the Five Counties Nursing Home (FCNH) was an experience in advocating for the continuation of an access critical long-term-care support and services facility. The Stronger Together program included a team of associates from Casey Peterson & Associates, Ltd., South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations, and Regional Health System. Together we developed a plan that resulted in a positive outcome for financial strength, staff stability and an operational plan that was both effective and efficient.
The Stronger Together program was made more robust by including members from the County Commissioners of Perkins and Corson, Lemmon Economic Development, Hettinger Health System of North Dakota, the Lemmon City Council, local businesses and family members of residents of FCNH. The Stronger Together program was presented to the South Dakota Department of Social Services team in 2015. It was an exciting time for the SDDSS team to gather in the facility with the citizens of the region.
The essential components of The Stronger Together program created a positive culture resulting in a successful outcome. The components were as follows:
The FCNH staff and the LAMA and FCNH Board members adopted the Strong Together Plan as a solid foundation for the future of the FCNH.
The importance of the “access-critical” designation for FCNH was important to the people in the northwest region of South Dakota.
The importance of FCNH to the Regional Economy of the northwest region of South Dakota
The Stronger Together Plan addressed financial, operational improvements and workforce enhancement. An essential component of workforce enhancement was reducing the use of traveling agency workers by recruiting and retaining qualified local staff.
The Stronger Together Plan had to involve a number of participants within the community, outside resources, and fundamental belief from the employees and leadership that the plan could be implemented and within a time frame that would require a swift turn around.
The Stronger Together Plan accomplished its’ goal, to place FCNH on a solid foundation to ensure that long-term-care support and services will continue to be available to the citizens of the northwest corner of South Dakota.
Education/Preceptor in South Dakota
As a qualified Preceptor in South Dakota, I have had the privilege of mentoring two individuals through the Administrator-in-Training program. They concluded the program requirements, successfully accomplished the required national and state testing, and attained a South Dakota Nursing Home License. Previously I have had the honor of mentoring seven individuals over 30 years through the Administrator-in-Training Program.
As a practicing nursing home administrator from 1987 to 2015, I was pleased to be available to the Five Counties Nursing Home, Lemmon, SD, and Wilmot Care Center, Wilmot, SD, when the facilities in their respective communities needed a licensed administrator.
A two-year consulting and mentoring contract with the FCNH resulting in a positive and successful culture change and a financially secure future for the facility.
My eight-month commitment as the interim administrator at WCC was a success. WCC has a licensed nursing home administrator in place.
I continue to attend educational opportunities that will keep me fresh, informed and licensed as required by the SD Board of Administrators.
Feasibility Study, City of White, SD
In 2015, the City of White engaged SDHCCS to conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability and most effective manner of retaining White Senior Living as a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Three important preferences dictated the direction of the Feasibility Study:
The building has the moratorium capacity of 61 beds. It is licensed for 29 beds at this time. The city of White would like to have a licensed occupancy of 40 to 50 people.
The availability of a work force within the service area.
The financial commitment of the City of White; any partners or private investors must be prepared to address the sustainability and feasibility of the facility.
The intention was to gather as much information and as many facts within a 50-mile service area of the City of White regarding existing long-term-care support and services.In addition, the available work force within the 50-mile radius of the City of White would be studied to provide the needed ratios to deliver the quality of care and quality of life mandated by participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs.The final task was to determine the financial sustainability of the City of White to take on the needed financial obligations that will be required to reinstate the SNF.
Guided by the long-term-care federal and state regulations, the reimbursement methodology of Medicare, Medicaid, and South Dakota’s Long Term Care Study and other sites were researched from August through September of 2015. This provided pertinent information regarding the facts that were needed to make a decision as to the revitalization of White Senior Living as a SNF. The research focused on three legs existing of long-term-care support and services in the area, the work force or lack of within a 50-mile radius of the City of White, and the financial sustainability of the facility.
Discussions were held or contacts made with five state agencies.Consultations were held with two long-term-care associations representing healthcare providers in the state of South Dakota. Several sites from the World Wide Web for current data were searched to secure needed facts for services, costs, work force, and future plans of state and federal agencies for intentions of meeting the Continuum of Care Needs of the Elderly in South Dakota and Minnesota.
The feasibility was concluded with a recommendation from SDHCCS to pursue other economic development options by using the facility for a community center or apartments and small business development.
Expert Witness Services
I was retained by the law firm of Schoenbeck Law, PC, in the matter of the conservatorship of a protected person. Schoenbeck Law, PC, obtained my services to review the documentation of an individual’s medical file. My assignment was to review the documentation presented in the records for clear behaviors, symptoms, judgement, and infirmities that could affect this individual’s ability to clearly comprehend the results of decisions made.
Public Speaking and Staff Training
Thrivent Financial secured my services to present an educational program to consumers and agents on the importance of planning for long-term-care support and services. The topics of Independent and Assisted Living, Skilled and Intermediate Care, Home Care, Adult Day Support and Respite Care levels of care were presented twice. Once to the perspective of a consumer and a second presentation to agents. The training continued with the topics of Medicare, A, B, C and D. The definition of Medicaid and its’ function. The presentation concluded with an overview of the South Dakota long-term care partnership program.
Brookings Area Transit Authority has engaged SDHCCS twice. The first engagement was an inspirational presentation “Ten Lessons from Thelma.” It is a story of perseverance. A glimpse into Thelma’s story begins like this:
“In order to become comfortable with the stories you are about to hear, you need to understand a little bit about Thelma. Thelma was born in 1914. She received an eighth grade education in a one room country school house. She was one of many women that were part of the homesteading era of the early 1900s. Thelma persisted through childhood incidents of abuse, poverty, and physical labor. As a young adult she worked beside her father and mother to squeak out a living during the Depression. After the death of Harry and Clara, Thelma’s parents; Thelma’s only brother Vern returned from WWII and took over the family homestead. Thelma at age 32 married. Her husband, Saliah, was born in 1898, an immigrant from the old country of Lebanon. He had arrived on US soil in 1914. He was processed through Ellis Island. His homestead was just thirteen miles south of Thelma’s birth home. Saliah and Thelma had four children in nine years. They lived in a three-room, tar papered, card board insulated homestead shack. A lean-to was attached to the south wall of the shack for an extra bedroom for the children. It was a thrill for the children to crawl through the window opening each night. They were not aware that this was unusual. So onto the beds and under the hand quilted blankets they would snuggle in and they would be kept warm in the cold dark winter nights. Saliah died before a door could be cut into the wall. In 1958 Thelma was left a widow at age 41. She had four children ages 10, 9, 7, and 3.”
The second presentation was staff training on Infections Control, Bloodborne Pathogens and Universal Precautions as it relates to public transportation. Using the regulations and guidelines from the Center of Disease Control, OSHA, and Universal Precautions requirements and recommendations provided the basis for the educational components.