From the Administrator’s Desk
My hope is that all of you reading this enjoyed a safe and happy Holiday Season and that we are looking forward to 2018 and all that lies before us. Certainly, 2017 was an extraordinary year for most of us at The Neighbors of Dunn County. We were required to implement Phase 1 of three phases as part of the new, Mega-Rule Nursing Home regulation updates that initially became effective in 2016. Those Phase 1 changes were required to be up and running in 2017. We also had to write and train staff on a myriad of new policies and procedures as part of Phase 2 in 2017. Those Phase 2 regulations became effective November 28, 2017. Phase 3, (the last phase), will begin in 2018 and will really be the implementation of all the Phase 2 regulations as well as some new ones including a new State Survey process in 2018 that we will be learning about too. While all of the above was going on, we also had to complete and update our Emergency policies and procedures too! Emergency procedures were required to be completed by November 15, 2017. So, now as we look back, we can see where we are better prepared today than we were 1 year ago and will likely be even better prepared a year from now as we implement these new policies and procedures and conduct emergency preparedness exercises throughout the year. This took a tremendous team effort over and above our normal duties. Kudos to the employees!
We had some very good Annual State Surveys this year across our East, Central and West Neighborhood facilities with West having no health related deficiencies, Central had just one cite and East had a handful of minor cites that were easily corrected. As of the end of 2017, East and West were listed as 4-star facilities (out of 5 stars), as listed by www.medicare.gov. Our Central Neighborhood remains as a 5-star facility! This is important because what goes into the star ratings is the results of our Annual State Surveys, our staffing and our quality indicators (metrics) of care. Most importantly an average of 91% of residents were surveyed in 2017 and said we provided good to excellent services in meeting their needs at The Neighbors of Dunn County.
Interestingly, with all the accomplishments, we continue to see census decline (locally and statewide) and finding enough caregivers can be tricky too. It’s a really good thing that the new State biennial budget contained an increase for nursing home reimbursement so that we can help offset the cost of providing competitive wages and benefits. While it may seem tough at the moment, it will im- prove. So, in 2018 we look forward to a better occupancy as well as regaining our expertise regarding all these new regulations and survey processes that help ensure we provide the care that residents expect.
For something new in 2018, we look forward to folks purchasing an engraved, patio brick to memorialize a loved one at The Neighbors or just to honor your loved one as part of our fundraising for the Memorial Garden as well as other needs of The Neighbors. Be sure to check this out at neighborsdc.org/donations. A display of engraved bricks (2 sizes) and rendering of the Memorial Garden can be seen in the Main Lobby of our Central Neighborhood in Brickenridge Villa. Come on over and check it out! It is much the same concept as the engraved pavers in Irvine Park or the Veteran’s Memorials – this one happens to be for The Neighbors. For more info, call Tracy or I at 715- 232-2661.
In the meantime, I suspect 2018 will continue to be full of changes including new supervisors to the Dunn Co. Board as a result of our Spring elections and Federal changes as a result of congressional elections this fall. I will be completing my 2-year term as President of the Wisconsin Association of County Homes in February and will then become the Immediate Past President helping to set-up their annual conferences for the next two years. So, even though I’m becoming eligible for Social Security retirement this summer, I don’t see retirement in my future just yet. And, those grand-kids are turning into teenagers soon! Whew, where does the time go? Let’s make it a great year in 2018!
-Tony Manzella, Community Mentor/Administrator