Greene County Medical Center will close its long-term care department by Sept. 28, 2022.
The center’s board has been discussing long-term care services for several years and thoroughly considered many options to continue providing long-term care services on its campus. Options considered were constructing a new facility, remodeling the existing facility to be competitive with long-term care standards, and transferring or selling the on-site operating license to another management company. Ultimately, the board concluded that the options available are not feasible, being cost-prohibitive due to the age of the facility, construction costs and acquiring building materials.
The current long-term care facility is grandfathered in with current Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals requirements, such as size of bathrooms, doorways and hallways. These requirements do not allow the medical center to make structural improvements or remodel in phases. If any changes are made, all new requirements must be met, which is cost-prohibitive and time-consuming.
The board also considered the condition of the nursing home industry over the past few years. According to studies, nationwide nursing home occupancy rates are 71 percent, with Iowa at 74 percent. Polls also reveal that 77 percent of seniors prefer aging in place or aging at home, according to AARP. Greene County Medical Center has provided long-term care at the center for many years, at one time providing care for 60 residents. The current long-term care occupancy at the Medical Center has been declining and is currently only 34 residents.
Medical Center staff will be assisting residents and their families’ transition to alternate nursing home facilities of their choice as a part of the closure plan.