County nursing home in desperate need of cash

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — County officials met for more than six hours Tuesday night, at a board meeting which didn’t end until about 1 am, Wednesday.

During the meeting, they voted down plans aimed at fixing the nursing home’s money problem.

Officials also may have made an illegal impromptu vote toward the end of the meeting. County leaders are looking into the legality of the vote.

It puts a resolution on the agenda for next week’s meeting to suspend the nursing home advisory council, but the vote itself wasn’t on the agenda for this meeting, so the public didn’t know it was happening. That’s just a small piece of a larger problem.

Half a million dollars. That’s about how much the Champaign County Nursing Home will owe from loans when January hits. And, it doesn’t include payroll or paying vendors.

County leaders don’t have a clear solution yet. When asked how the nursing home will pay back the loans, the answer was murky. 

“That’s a good question, I don’t know.”

A lack of cash isn’t new to the nursing home. County Board Chair Pius Weibel says they’re not even breaking even.

“I don’t see the nursing home making a lot of money, so how do we deal with that, in fact they’re still losing money?”

That’s not acceptable for board members like Jim Goss. He says it’s time the county cut its losses and sell the nursing home.

“We can’t, next year, continue to give them loans to make payroll. We can’t give them loans to pay vendors. The money simply isn’t there.”

Goss says the county can’t afford to throw off its finances on a service it’s not even required to have.

“We need to take care of the things we’re supposed to take care of.”

But other board members believe things are looking up for the home.

“We’ve seen some pretty positive turnarounds.”

Stephanie Fortado is among those who want to give the new management a chance. She says these changes just take some time.

“Nothing from last night changes the fact that the nursing home is moving in a positive direction.”

But it may be too late. County board members are at a standstill on how to fix it.

“We have to make a decision. We’ve kicked this can down the road for a number of years.”

“We’re just going to have to work together into the new year, to try and figure out how to support our nursing home.”

Goss was the board member who pushed for putting the vote on next week’s agenda to suspend the advisory council. He says he’s tried to have it put on the agenda for weeks, saying he did it to increase transparency. 

Goss says it will get rid of the middleman and make it so people can complain directly to board members.

The county nursing home has about $117,000 cash on hand. Monday it will owe close to $250,000 for payroll. County officials don’t yet know where the money will come from.

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