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Officials With North Central Health Care Asking the State for Additional Funds

Friday, March 24th, 2023 -- 8:00 AM

(Mike Leischner, WSAU) Officials with North Central Health Care are asking the state for additional funds through supplemental payments.

Executive Director of the multi-county healthcare system Gary Olsen says they were promised over three million dollars, which never materialized from the Department of Health Services. "If we would have gotten this money, we would have been fine. So, we need the Legislature and the Governor to look at this. They have a seven billion dollar excess right now."

Olsen says that shortfall plays a huge role in the Pine Crest Nursing Home of Merrill's current deficit, which impacts all aspects of their operations including staffing. "We have to make sure we're paying our employees a good living wage for the position, so we maintain them. And that's just the plan operations."

Olsen says there's no secret that nursing home care has become hard to find statewide, and extra funding would help ease that shortage. "Everyone is having an issue with staffing especially in the medical fields, CNA's, nurses, it's really hard. Both of our nursing homes, we're not at full capacity because of staffing."

Olsen says neither of NCHC's facilities- Pine Crest Nursing Home in Merrill and Mount View Care Center in Wausau, are at capacity right now because of staffing issues, due in part to their financial situation. "And so that makes it even harder for people because we can't even look at getting to full capacity because of staffing. And then if you cut our money, that impacts staffing."

Olsen notes that nursing homes in Dane County recently received a seven million dollar windfall from the state, while homes in over 20 other counties had their funding cut.

An ad hoc committee recently presented the Lincoln County board with a list of options to help increase funding for the facility- including the addition of childcare services for employees and the community. It's also possible that county leaders could elect to close the facility.

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