By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Rural Health Development (RHD) is no longer managing operations at the Imperial Manor and Parkview/Heights, Imperial’s senior care facilities.
On Monday, city council members terminated RHD’s contract and hired Lantern Health Services of Waverly, effective immediately.
In a pair of other votes, an agreement for Lantern’s management services was approved at $11,000 per month, and Lyle Hight of York was hired interim manager for the three facilities.
Hight, along with Lantern’s owner Sharon Colling, were on site at the Imperial facilities Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. A staff meeting was held Tuesday afternoon.
Monday’s action all came on 3-0 council votes from Dave Fulton, Dan Thompson and Charlesa Kline. Council member Chad Yaw was absent.
All five members of the newly-appointed senior services board were at the meeting, including Doug Gaswick, chairman; Rev. David Kahle, secretary; John Arterburn and Angie Paisley. Kline represents the council on the board.
There was little public discussion Monday as to why the action was taken.
“There were a lot of performance and client care issues,” board chairman Gaswick said.
Due to patient privacy issues and HIPAA requirements, he would not discuss specific situations.
Members of the senior services board unanimously recommended the change in management and hiring Lantern at a March 9 meeting.
Minutes from that March 9 meeting state, “Members reviewed letters received by families of two separate residents who were in hospice care at the Manor and were very unhappy with the care they received.
“They also reviewed an email regarding misstatements that were made by management regarding finances at a past meeting.”
The senior services board then moved into a 40-minute closed session. After returning to open session, they voted 5-0 to terminate RHD and hire Lantern.
That recommendation came before the council Monday.
At a six-hour meeting Feb. 16, the senior services board met in closed session with employees at the facilities to discuss thoughts and concerns on RHD’s management.
Fulton, who ran Monday’s meeting in the absence of Mayor Dwight Coleman, thanked the senior services board for the number of hours “and difficult meetings” they have put in.
After the votes, Sherry Coleman, a Manor employee, said, “I want to say thank you. It was badly needed.”
Manor Director of Nursing Tammi Simpson asked what the city’s plans were for her job.
Kline, speaking as a member of the senior services board, said Lantern will evaluate and decide who will be in what positions.
“At this time, there are no plans to terminate or change anything,” she said.
After Lantern’s evaluation, recommendations will come before the senior services board, Kline indicated.
Gaswick noted the goal eventually is to have the management company gone “once everything is working smoothly and in the way that we want to see it.”
Also at the meeting were Walt Dye, a western regional manager for RHD, and Dean Dragon, who came on board in December as the facilities’ administrator and is an RHD employee.
After the initial vote to terminate RHD’s contract and hire Lantern, Dye asked for a clarification on when RHD was to be out of the building. He said the administrator still had personal items in the building.
“As far I’m concerned it could be in the morning (Tuesday),” City Attorney Josh Wendell said.
“Just want it to be on the record,” Dye said.
Major contract change
As City Attorney Wendell pointed out, one major change in approving the contract with Lantern involves the administrator.
Under RHD management, the administrator was an RHD employee whose salary was included in the monthly management fee.
With Lantern, the administrator will be an employee of the city. His/her salary will be paid from funds outside of Lantern’s management fee.
In Lantern’s contract approved Monday, they will be paid $11,000 per month. Wendell pointed out the $55 per hour for the interim consultant is not included in that monthly fee.
The administrator’s salary will be a budgeted item each year in the senior services budget.
In its last monthly payment, RHD was paid $10,770, said City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland.
Leyland told council members that Hight, the interim administrator, is not interested in eventually being named administrator.
“This is a more expensive contract than the one we had before,” Wendell said.
The board is “fully cognizant” of the expenses that will be incurred, Wendell added, but believe that’s what’s required get it to what the board feels is “an adequate level of care.”
The agreement with Lantern is a one-year obligation through March 17, 2016. Any change in the agreement requires a 60-day notice, Wendell said.
“I’m sure everyone’s hoping we’re in a position to maybe terminate this one and go with a lower level of service” with Lantern eventually, he said.
“All of our challenges are not behind us, but this is a very important first step,” Fulton said.
Like the contract with Lantern, there was a 60-day notification clause in the city’s contract with RHD. Leyland received a bill from RHD Tuesday for those additional days.