In March, Rouse officials approached the Warren County Commissioners about backing a loan for changes at the facility.
The Rouse Home is the official Warren County nursing home. Officials there have to run major changes past the commissioners.
"Counties used to be required to have a nursing home for the indigent (poor)," Chief Financial Officer Jeff Sedon said.
Photo by Brian Ferry
The Rouse Home is about to undergo some improvements.
County homes are reimbursed by the state using a different formula than other nursing homes. "At times it's been advantageous," Sedon said. "At others, not particularly advantageous."
Being the county home also entitles the Rouse Home to county dollars. Because the facility is county-affiliated, not county-owned, Warren County contributes to, but does not fund the operation of the Rouse Home.
"We receive $1 a year," Chief Executive Officer Jasen Diley said. "The Rouse is a 501(c)3."
"Over the years they have given us various donations," Sedon said. Those donations do not add up to the amounts that would fund a county-owned facility.
"We are not county employees," Sedon said.
The commissioners considered a request to provide backing for a $3 million loan, but were saved the need for a final judgment.
Rouse officials secured the funding privately. "Northwest Savings Bank has given us a commitment letter," Sedon said.
The new loan will close the books on the county's involvement in a previous loan. In 1994, the estate took on a $4.5 million loan for the Suites at Rouse - the Rouse Estate's personal care home.
The new loan will incorporate the new $3.15 million loan and refinancing of the remaining $1.3 million for a total of $4.45 million at 3.5 percent interest for 20 years.
"By refinancing the existing debt, we will remove the county guarantee," Sedon said. "The new debt will not require a county guarantee. The Rouse is wholly responsible."
Sedon said he expects to open bids on Aug. 24 with a projected start of construction by Oct. 1.
The changes represent continuing the effort to provide resident-centered care.
"We've always had a focus that the residents come first," Diley said. "Four years ago we went into what was called a household concept. It's their home. We're just guests here."
Changes were made to dining areas - moving away from large cafeterias to rooms with a small group of tables. Instead of living in the "400-hall" residents can now describe where they live using a street name - Liberty Lane or Shady Oak, for example.
The next changes will provide a higher quality living experience, Diley said, while also making the facility more efficient. "We want to create a Main Street concept," he said.
By relocating some resident rooms, common rooms - "therapy, beauty shop, spa," Diley said - will be grouped together. "The resident-centered care the way that we've designed it will result in a significant reduction in noise for the residents."
Among the resident rooms being relocated are those that are near an employee entrance.
Also, the facility's call system with alarm bells and dome lights will be replaced by a system that utilizes pagers and cell phones.
The changes that will be most visible from outside the facility include the construction of 12 new private rooms at the Rouse Home and six apartments at the Suites at Rouse.