The general mood and overall outlook on the future of 21 nursing facilities, including one in Wausa, has taken a complete turnaround. While new owners are being sought, the state is watching the facilities closely.
“People should feel better today than last week,” said Ken Klaasmeyer of Klaasmeyer & Associates, the management company now overseeing the facilities. “There’s more oversight now than they ever had before. We’re checking in with the state daily, as well as the facilities and making sure there is staff and food available.”
Wausa Care & Rehabilitation is one of 21 nursing facilities turned over to the state Friday after the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services was alerted that the company could not make payroll. Other nearby facilities include O’Neill, Neligh and Norfolk.
Despite being unable to pay their employees, the facilities all remained open to ensure their residents were cared for. Klaasmeyer said his company took over March 23 as managers from the New Jersey-based Cottonwood Healthcare L.L.C. also known as Skyline.
That means, as of March 23, Klaasmeyer & Associates is overseeing the bills, and employees will be paid from that date forward. As for the missed pay, Klaasmeyer said they are looking for funding for that but cannot guarantee it at this point.
However, Omaha-based Immanuel has stepped in with a “sizeable” donation to assist employees and residents, reportedly about $250,000.
“They are living up to their mission,” Klaasmeyer said. “Immanuel provided a donation of a $100 gift card to every employee and donated groceries to the facilities. We started distribution of those yesterday.”
Klaasmeyer said his company has now met with every facility administrator and is continuing communication to work through the receivership process, which includes searching for a new owner for the facilities.
“We don’t have a timeline. It could be a month, six months, a year. I don’t know, but we’ll do whatever we have to do,” he said. “The people that own the buildings could lease them to other places. We’ve had various calls from cities asking if the city could take them over, and we’ve done that before.”
Klaasmeyer said he worked with the City of Clarkson last August to take over ownership of that facility from Skyline.
“The city now owns the facility and we manage it for the City of Clarkson,” he said. “They didn’t have the experience for it, so we came in to manage the facility for them.”
Klaasmeyer said while there are no concrete plans of who will purchase the facilities, he said they will remain open and overseen by his team until the state approves the new ownership.
“Everyone feels good about where we are today,” he said. “We’re moving forward with our primary purpose of maintaining and improving care of the residents.”