By Jennifer McDaniel for the Lincoln Sentinel
As Lincoln Park Manor officials are still correcting items state surveyors cited as potentially harmful to the facility’s residents, county officials are working alongside Administrator Christen Robinson to find ways to cover the expense of making necessary improvements.
During the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation’s monthly meeting on May 11, Economic Development Director Kelly Larson told officials how she is working with Lincoln Park Manor Administrator Christen Robinson to find potential grant funding to cover the cost of remodeling the facility.
During an unannounced inspection in March 2015, surveyors with the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services – the agency that oversees the state’s nursing facilities – visited Lincoln Park Manor to ensure it was in compliance with state and federal health and safety regulations. The state, which performs the inspections under contract with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is required to survey all nursing facilities annually.
Following that survey, a fine of $236,000 was levied against the facility. Eventually, that fine was reduced to a penalty in excess of $32,000.
During the inspection, the facility was cited for deficiencies in the operation of the adult care home, the health and welfare of its residents as well as other issues related to housekeeping and maintenance issues.
Even though the fine was reduced, Robinson was still forced to pay the fine – less than two weeks after the decision was made – in order to avoid further penalties and interest accrual. That money was already earmarked for other financial commitments such as monthly rent payments.
In the initial survey, inspectors found what they believed were problems with the tile and flooring in various locations in the facility. In one instance, an inspector cited a quarter-inch crack in the linoleum at the entrance to a resident’s room. In another example, surveyors cited the facility because two white 12 inch by 12 inch tiles did not match the grey nine inch by nine inch tiles in the remainder of the flooring. According to the report, this was cited in six instances.
Problems surveyors found were not in the care of residents or the operation of the facility, but in the fact the nursing home is several decades old.
During the Lincoln County Commission’s May 2 meeting, Larson presented a rough draft requesting proposals for a facility assessment. The proposal, which was eventually approved by commissioners, is asking for recommendations on options for improving the facility. Proposals are due June 6.
In other business, the board:
• Learned Hoisington Veterinarian Lindsay Mitchell will host an open house for her mobile vet unit on Saturday, June 4, which will be the same weekend as the Lincoln High School Alumni Reunion. Mitchell is already scheduling appointments and will begin seeing patients the following Tuesday, June 7.
Business hours are from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. every Tuesday. For more information, contact the office at 785-531-1372 or send an email at [email protected].
• Learned the local economic development office’s summer intern begins May 31. The intern, Fernando Rojas, a Lincoln High School graduate, will split his time between the economic development office and The Radish Patch. Rojas was chosen from a pool of seven high-school and college-aged students who applied for the nine-week program. In all, four Lincoln businesses will have interns this summer, including Farmway Cooperative and USD 298 – Lincoln School District.
• Had its first glimpse of the new Live Lincoln County visitor’s guide. Larson explained the publication was the result of months of work, and would be introduced to the public in the coming weeks. The publication is distributed free at stops along the western half of the I-70 corridor, as an insert to out-of-county subscribers to the Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, through local and area advertisers, and in a free, online digital edition. Copies were also distributed to visitors to the 27th-annual Kansas Sampler Festival in Winfield earlier this month.
Live Lincoln County is the product of a public/private partnership, where a group of local volunteers and staffs from the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation and the local newspaper partnered together via print, web and social media – to spread the word about what Lincoln County has to offer.
• Learned the Sylvan City Council is postponing its application for another Community Development Block Grant for now. Last summer, the city applied for a grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce to give federal funding to Kansas communities wanting to update, renovate or simply rehabilitate housing. Funding to improve housing in cities like Sylvan Grove are awarded to local governments once the necessary requirements are met. The maximum amount awarded is $400,000.
The city received a similar grant in the mid-1990s, resulting in 21 refurbished homes, and four demolished structures. If the grant was awarded, the funding would have covered home improvements such as structural repair, weatherization, electrical, plumbing, energy conservation and handicapped accessibility.
Larson told board members the council decided more clean-up was needed throughout town before another application was submitted. Since the city was turned down for grant funding, city officials have stressed they would enforce ordinances, including the removal of junk vehicles.Larson said officials decided to hold off for now because they didn’t want to affect their future chances for being selected.
• Learned the Leadership Lincoln County class received an $8,300 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation this spring for its wayfinding signage project. Larson, who is also a class member, said the group met with the signmaker, and anticipates the signs will be installed by late-summer.