Care center contract soon to be signed

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 7/1/21

LIBERTY, NY — The consulting agreement for management of the Care Center at Sunset Lake “is expected to be signed shortly,” said Lowell Feldman, chair of the local development corporation in charge of the facility. “There have been numerous legal and operational issues to be considered and resolved.”

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Care center contract soon to be signed

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LIBERTY, NY — The consulting agreement for management of the Care Center at Sunset Lake “is expected to be signed shortly,” said Lowell Feldman, chair of the local development corporation in charge of the facility. “There have been numerous legal and operational issues to be considered and resolved.”

On Monday, June 21, a meeting with counsel was held “to review amendments to the documents recently discussed,” he said.  

Commenters have been asking over the last several months about the status and terms of the contract and about any monies paid to Infinite Care, the chosen management team.

Here are some answers, submitted by email from Feldman on Friday.

Under the (unsigned at the time of this writing) contract, what will happen to the residents? Although nothing has been said about discharging Medicaid recipients (and dementia patients, by and large, are on Medicaid), concern for whether they’ll be kept on has been a worry.

“Residents are not at any risk of discharge based on the consulting agreement contract,” Feldman said. “Medicaid residents and those covered by other payor sources will remain in accordance with guidelines for continued stay in Skilled Nursing Facilities by the payor source and departmental regulations.”

Without seeing the contract, we don’t know how much of the care center would become a skilled nursing unit. Some homes have just a portion set off for a skilled nursing unit, others are entirely dedicated to the service. Skilled nursing is often—but not always—temporary, and the care received there is reimbursed at higher rates.

According to Investopedia, short-term care (like for rehab or post-surgical care) is covered by Medicare or insurance, and long-term stays are paid for by Medicaid, private pay or insurance.

How about staff conditions? In an interview Saturday about conditions at the care center, commenter Cat Scott, whose mother is a resident, described how short-staffed the facility is. The activities staff “are running around, they’re facilitating the zoom calls, doing visitation” as well as providing activities for the residents. “The kitchen is desperate for people.” They’re all pulling it off, “but it’s so hard.”

“Staff should not be concerned; in fact, they should look forward to improvements in the workplace,” Feldman said.

What services is Infinite Care providing now? At what cost?

“Currently, the Infinite Care group is providing services in the areas of MDS [Minimum Data SET] scoring and billing via an agreement reached with the county, which is the first phase of the original request for proposal that was issued for the management of the care center,” said Feldman. “That contract is $30,000 a month.”

Once it’s signed, will the public be officially notified? Will there be some kind of event?

“There certainly will be official notice of the management transition to the public,” Feldman said. As far as an event, “health facilities are still under visitor restrictions due to COVID-19 guidance, so any mass gathering would be unlikely.”

“Many of us in the Family Council feel that Infinite Care is a good choice... we came away with a positive view,” said Lou Setren, president of the council, which advocates for residents at the facility, in an interview on Saturday. Their preference has always been that the county retains control, he said. “Many of us would have preferred that the county would correct the issues... they could offer more [money] and sign-on bonuses to attract more staff.”

He added, “I remain hopeful that once the management agreement with Infinite Care is in effect, they will invest the resources needed.”

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