Acres rates to increase

Auglaize Acres residents will be paying more per day for their rooms beginning Jan. 1.
The Auglaize County commissioners approved the rate increases proposed by Auglaize Acres Administrator Connie Pierce on Thursday. On average the increase is $5 per day.
Under the new rates, residents of the county nursing home are to pay $180 per day for semi-private rooms with shared bathrooms, $187.50 per day in the memory unit, $190 per day with a private room and shared bathroom, and $192.50 per day for a private room with a private bathroom.
She said in reviewing current costs and recent Medicare and Medicaid cuts, the increase in room costs was necessary.
“We had to do it when we’re analyzing our costs,” Pierce said.”In a competitive analysis, we’re still way under other nursing homes in the area.”
Pierce said she plans to continue looking at other ways to be more cost effective in serving patients but at 65 to 70 percent of total operating costs, labor accounts for a large portion of that.
“We took a major hit when Medicare was reduced by 23 percent on Oct. 1 and Medicaid by $16 a day per patient, about 10 percent, on July 1,” Pierce said.
Close to 80 percent of the Acres patients receive reimbursements through Medicaid or Medicare, Pierce said.
Pierce notified residents and their families of the change by telephone and via a letter which went out in the mail Thursday.
By law, they are required to give 30 days notice of any cost changes, and Pierce said she wanted to give them as much notice as possible.
The last rate increase was in February 2011 when rates also increased by $5 a room.
Pierce, who took over running the facility in April, said this is just one way she has tried to cut costs.
“I continue to monitor it every way I can,” Pierce said.
Since coming onboard, Pierce has made adjustments in staffing, closed down a partial unit to consolidate staffing, implemented monthly cost controls with department heads, and made computer changes to better track expenses.
The Acres, which has 78 of a possible 98 beds filled, has had a daily census count of 76 or 77 most of the year.