Senior care entering new phase in Red WingA plan to dramatically alter senior care in Goodhue County has been given the green light by state legislators.
A plan to dramatically alter senior care in Goodhue County has been given the green light by state legislators.
Officials from Fairview Red Wing, Ebenezer and St. Brigid's at Hi-Park have received the legislative authority needed to develop a new model of senior care. They say the plan would reduce health care costs by streamlining services and avoiding the need for costly nursing home facilities
Part of the plan will include a new skilled nursing facility to be built on the Fairview Red Wing campus. The facility would consolidate skilled nursing services from St. Brigid's and Fairview Red Wing into a single location.
The cooperative effort is part of a larger plan to make senior care more cost effective in a time of shifting demographics, according to Fairview Red Wing CEO Scott Wordelman.
"We know the community is aging and we need to get more innovative in how we deliver this care" he said. "If we didn't do this, we'd be looking at a crisis five years down the line."
The effort has been in the works for more than two years, but was stalled during the 2009 legislative session.
A bill proposed by Sen. Steve Murphy and Rep. Tim Kelly -- both of Red Wing -- that would have allowed the health care providers to bypass a state moratorium on skilled nursing facilities didn't clear the House in time for the end of the session.
This year, however, they were able to get the legislation passed. Murphy said the project hit some "bad timing" in 2009, but that he was glad it was able to pass through this year.
"It's a great project and I'm happy to be a part of it," he said.
@sub heads:Next steps
@Normal1: The joint effort is "very much in the preliminary stage," according to Wordelman. Officials from the Benedictine Health System, which runs St. Brigid's, and Fairview Red Wing will reach out to the community in the months ahead to find out what an ideal model of senior care would look like. Then, he said, a more concrete plan will be developed and put into place.
Both Fairview and BHS's nursing home facilities will continue to operate as normal in the near term, he said.
Wordelman said he envisions the facility to be a one-stop location for senior medical care, with skilled nursing services, informational resources and other tools for senior care all at one location.
Beyond the new facility, said Wordelman, care would be provided to seniors in innovative ways. Technologies like Skype, he said, would allow medical professionals to provide home-based medical care. Efforts would also be made to educate seniors on available programs like Meals on Wheels.
Taken together, these efforts would decrease the need for traditional nursing home care, said Wordelman.
"In the past, if folks weren't able to be taken care of at home, basically they were placed in a nursing home," he said. "We're looking to keep people in their homes much longer."
@Sub heads:Job concerns
@Normal1: The plan would put the future of two longtime Red Wing senior care facilities in doubt.
Fairview Red Wing spokeswoman Marcy Dowse said Fairview Seminary Home would likely close and move its operations to the new facility, though she said this was by no means certain.
"There's no plan in place yet," she said.
BHS Vice President of Operations Steve Chies said St. Brigid's skilled nursing services would likely move to the new facility. The location's assisted living and memory care facilities would remain open, he said.
Wordelman said that it is too early to speculate over the possible loss of jobs at either facility. He said, though, that job losses would likely be mitigated by increased demand for senior care along with jobs created by changing medical technology.
"There are going to be jobs tomorrow that we can't even envision today," he said.