Dougherty also told Cedarbrook’s operators he was not satisfied with the answers he was getting at the meeting.
Confirmed Muller: “There’s clearly a lack of trust to some degree in what you’re hearing.”
Cedarbrook operates with nearly 95 percent of its beds occupied. But with nursing homes, high occupancy does not necessarily mean financial success. Officials indicated the problem is that most of Cedarbrook’s patients have low incomes, so the nursing home gets only Medicaid reimbursements for them. Cedarbrook can get larger government reimbursements for Medicare patients.
Commissioner Vic Mazziotti said many people assume folks reside in nursing homes for a long time, usually until they die. He asked what percent of Cedarbrook’s beds are occupied by people who are there for a long time.
Commissioners were told 90-95 percent of Cedarbrook’s patients fit that category.
But Cedarbrook is working to also market itself as a short-term rehabilitation facility, not just a long-term care nursing home.
Gary Heinrich of LW Consulting told commissioners one way Cedarbrook plans to increase its revenue is by having Medicare patients stay an average of two more days – 34 days rather than 32 --and giving those patients more therapy, because more therapists are joining the staff.
But commissioners were assured LW will do that “only if the care warrants the services – we will never do anything that will compromise our integrity. We have done a very good job of caring for patients.”
Said Commissioner Scott Ott: “We didn’t ask you to come before us because we’re concerned about the quality of care.”
Heinrich said therapy at Cedarbrook sometimes has ended sooner than it should because staffing levels were not where they need to be.
Ott questioned whether that meant people were hustled out the door before they needed to leave, “without delivering the optimal care.”
Dougherty also expressed concern that patients will be getting unnecessary therapy “to drag up the bills and get the reimbursement.”
“Either somebody is not being served now or we’re going to have too much therapy,” said Dougherty.