By Mike Scott
Many of the 19 residents at the Clark County Residential Care Facility are heartbroken at the prospect of changes to their homelike living environment in the wake of a change announced last week. Beginning on April 27, 2016, the residents of RCF were each visited individually by the Administrative staff from RCF, who informed them that the facility would change from an RCF to Independent Living Apartments on July 1.
“We talked to everyone individually, and spent time with them explaining what was happening,” said Administrator Tammy McDaniel-Ramsey. “We tried to be as delicate as we could.”
Residents will continue to receive three meals per day in a communal setting, along with laundry, housekeeping and maintenance services. Their monthly rent will be reduced.
“They will continue to receive everything they’re receiving now, except the nursing services,” said McDaniel-Ramsey. “We’re trying to help our residents over there, most of whom need very little service. A lot are not utilizing everything they’re paying for. And it’s still a step up from Senior Housing.”
Regulation changes affecting the RCF began back in 2006, when the state changed its programs to favor Independent Living Apartments. The CCNH board at that time chose to remain an RCF (II), and its license to operate was grandfathered. Over the past decade, it has become increasingly difficult for the CCNH to keep up with different regulations for the nursing home and the RCF.
“Health care is ever evolving and changing,” said McDaniel Ramsey. “We need the nursing home. We have to have that for the community. And we care about the RCF residents just as much. But we face the challenge of two sets of regulations.”
Another issue facing the CCNH is the availability of a skilled and qualified work force.
“We have a lot of training involved, and all our staff has to pass a background check and a drug test,” McDaniel added.
Last week, the following letter was given to each of the residents:
NOTICE OF RCF DISCHARGE – APRIL 27, 2016
This letter is an official discharge notification regarding the closing of our Residential Care Facility as of June 30, 2016. On July 1, 2016 we will transition our apartments to Independent Living Apartments. After much thought and consideration by the Board of Directors and Management we feel we can better serve the community’s needs by operating as Independent Living Apartments as evidenced by the persistent waiting list of our neighboring Senior Housing Apts. The majority of our current resident census requires little to no nursing over-sight that couldn’t be met by Home Health services. For those few residents that require some nursing assistance with ADLs, Clark County Nursing Home will assist you and your family with exploring options to remain in an independent living setting or with relocating to a nearby facility of resident’s choice.
As with any discharge notice, we must notify you of your rights to appeal this notification. Any appeal should be sent to the director of the Division of Aging or his/her designated hearing official within thirty (30) days of the receipt of this notice. The address to which the request for a hearing should be sent to is: Administrative Hearings Unit, Division of Legal Services, P.O. Box 1527, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1527. Filing an appeal will allow you to remain in the facility until the hearing is held unless a hearing official finds otherwise.
Many of you will be able to remain as tenants in our Independent Living Apartments at a reduced cost for services if you choose so. Some may not, due to requiring nursing assistance which will not be available after July 1 2016. We have enclosed an information packet of community resources including: lifeline, Home Health Agencies, Pharmacies, Physicians, Dental Services, and transportation (Oats Bus) for those occupants who plan to transition with us and remain in our Independent Living Apartments. As stated earlier, CCNH will assist you in exploring ways for residents to remain in independent living with community resources if you choose or we will make referrals to nearby facilities of resident’s choice.
The Department of Health and Senior Services was officially notified by Clark County Nursing Home on April 22, 2016 of our intent to surrender our certification and licensure to operate as a RCF II effective June 30, 2016. The local DHSS-Region 5 was also notified at that time. Contact was made with the Regional Ombudsman on April 22, 2016 regarding the intent. Katelyn Eichorst is the Regional Ombudsman Coordinator employed by the VOYCE located at 680 Craig Road, Suite 245, St. Louis, MO 63141 and may be reached at 866-918-8222.
Our desire with these upcoming changes is to continue providing housing and services such as 3 meals/day, housekeeping/laundry and maintenance for a reduction of rent. We look forward to partnering with those who choose to remain as tenants.
Tammy McDaniel-Ramsey, Administrator
Larry Saxton, President
Mike Frazier, Vice-President
Gary Gordy, Secretary
Phil Hall, Member
Donna Oilar, Treasurer
Marla Wilson, Member
On Friday, April 29th, RCF residents contacted The Media. Several spoke to Lynn Jones on the condition that we not publish their names. Here are their thoughts and concerns:
“On Wednesday, April 27th some administrative people came into my room and gave me a packet and explained that things will be changing soon. There was no longer going to be 24/7 care now. The RCF was going to be turned into apartments since there is a waiting list at the senior apartments. Needless to say, I can’t understand how or why that has to make what we have here change. This is my home. I was living out of state with my daughter and got home sick for my friends so I came HOME. I have a heart condition, so I do need some attention. One day I ran out of oxygen and I yelled for help and got help immediately. My brother was so glad that I am living where there was medical attention available, now I won’t have that.
Another devastating issue is the medication. We will be responsible for remembering when to take our medication, and how many at what time we take this pill or that pill. It is a lot for me to remember.
I was told that Memphis has a RCF. Why would I want to go to Memphis when Clark County is my home and always has been my home. Why are the citizens of Clark County letting this happen? Why isn’t anyone helping us. I pay my taxes too.
Another second resident shared their thoughts:
“First of all, everyone is upset. I am not ready to go to the Nursing Home. I do need some help. I need help with showers. I don’t have good balance and it is going to be scary that no one is going to be here to help me. We all feel betrayed. We all needed some assistance, and that is why we came to Clark County RCF. We are all family here. We left our homes to come to our new home for the rest of our time, and now we are being told this isn’t going to be here anymore. You don’t understand-we are family here. At night there is someone who checks in at different hours to make sure we are ok and that we haven’t fallen during the night. I won’t have that now.
The public needs to know what is happening to us here. We are desperate. It was really bad how we had to find out. Instead of having a meeting with our families about the change they just dropped it on us. We have no say. The Board, Administrators, and family members should have been told, not like this. I never dreamed this would change. CCRCF is a wonderful place. How could they do this to us?
Another resident shared these thoughts:
My husband and I sold our house after living in it 60+ years and looked for other places for us to go forever. We wanted to be where we could be together and have the help needed to keep us living independently. This is our home and we’re not sure what we will do now. We chose this place because we thought it was the best and we would be together. We are like a big family here. Everyone is upset! This is our home, look at all the pictures we have on the walls, this is home. Now this has happened. We can live here with the assistance we get. We are taken care of, we enjoy being here. Now 21 people are going to be uprooted after making this home. It is so devastating. I can’t relax now, can’t call this home anymore. We all care about each other and we are all sick about this.
“We understand everyone’s concerns,” said McDaniel-Ramsey. “We’re trying to keep them in their homes. I think that we can help every resident stay over their by reaching out and connecting them with the resources available in the community. I think we can help them achieve the feeling of safety and security they need.”