Change was needed at senior care facilities
By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor
This week, a new management firm is on the job directing operations at Imperial’s three senior care facilities—the Imperial Manor, Imperial Heights Retirement Center and Parkview Assisted Living.
After several meetings and a lot of hours in the short time the senior services board has been back in place, they felt it was in the best interests of the residents of those facilities to change management. They recommended as such to the city council, and at Monday night’s meeting, the change was made—immediately.
Rural Health Development (RHD) was terminated and Lantern Health Services was hired as the new management firm.
The change will cost significantly more money to use the services of Lantern, but board members and the council felt that it was necessary to get resident care back to where families and the community expect it to be.
They also felt it was important enough to make the change immediate, even though the city’s contract with RHD had a 60-day notification clause. That means the senior services budget will have to pay for 60 days of employment they won’t get from RHD at about $11,000 per month.
Reasons for the change weren’t forthcoming from the council or members of the senior services board. “Performance and client care issues” were how it was summed up at the council meeting, so patient privacy was cited. But, anyone who knows people working at the facilities has to have felt the angst among most employees there.
The recent audit showed a significant drop in the facilities’ cash reserves, enough of a concern it was brought to the council’s attention by the auditor. Late last year, RHD officials came to the council to seek a loan to help make a bond payment this spring for the facilities that the council and mayor want to continue operating without tax dollars. Then there’s the business of six different administrators hired since 2010, who were directly under RHD’s supervision.
It was time for a change. RHD has been on board for nine years and certainly had been given some leeway on many of the personnel issues.
But, care of the residents is something that should never be compromised. After all, the Manor, Heights and Parkview are the residents’ homes now. Management and staff must always have their care and well-being as their No. 1 priority.