Hospital District completes acquisition of the Village at the Harbor, starts rolling out staffing and facility changes

Posted March 12, 2022 at 12:45 pm by

On Mon­day, Feb. 28, the San Juan Coun­ty Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict final­ized its $4.8 mil­lion pur­chase of the Vil­lage at the Har­bor, a 36-bed long-term care facil­i­ty locat­ed on Spring Street.

With the sale com­plete, the PHD now embarks on an ambi­tious plan to ensure the con­tin­ued avail­abil­i­ty and even­tu­al expan­sion of long-term care ser­vices on San Juan Island. The PHD aims to main­tain the Village’s exist­ing pri­vate-pay­er mod­el, while at the same time adding sub­stan­tial capac­i­ty for low­er-income res­i­dents on Med­ic­aid, estab­lish­ing a pro­gram to help seniors age in place, pro­vid­ing sta­bil­i­ty for the Village’s staff, and improv­ing its facilities.

One of the major staffing changes took place the day fol­low­ing the acqui­si­tion, when all employ­ees work­ing 32 or more hours per week were pro­vid­ed med­ical, den­tal, and vision cov­er­age, along with retire­ment ben­e­fits and paid time off. None of these ben­e­fits had been offered while the Vil­lage was under pri­vate ownership.

Employ­ees also received wage increas­es of rough­ly ten per­cent on March 1.

Those changes “were an extreme­ly impor­tant step in the acqui­si­tion process,” accord­ing to Nathan But­ler, PHD super­in­ten­dent. “It allows for a high­er lev­el of employ­ee reten­tion. Cur­rent­ly, the health­care field is expe­ri­enc­ing an extreme deficit of health­care work­ers. To ensure that employ­ees are incen­tivized to remain at the Vil­lage at the Har­bor long term instead of seek­ing employ­ment else­where, it was impor­tant that the Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict offer com­pet­i­tive wages and ben­e­fits packages.”

Patient care with­in the facil­i­ty and beyond will see improve­ments in the near future. With fund­ing from the PHD, the Vil­lage has been able to add two new full-time nurs­es to pro­vide more com­pre­hen­sive care to res­i­dents. The Dis­trict also aims to hire three home health­care work­ers in mid- to late 2022 for a new pro­gram designed to help Island seniors age in place, instead of at an assist­ed liv­ing facil­i­ty like the Village.

In addi­tion, the PHD intends to increase its sub­sidy to Mount Bak­er Planned Par­ent­hood by $45,000, and to pro­vide $10,000 in sup­port of health­care needs for the Island’s LGBTQ com­mu­ni­ty – although fur­ther details about those ini­tia­tives are not yet available.

The PHD has also begun to address deferred main­te­nance at the facil­i­ty, which was acquired by way of a $5 mil­lion, 20-year bond held by Sav­iBank of Fri­day Har­bor. New laun­dry machines have been pur­chased, more than $70,000 in replace­ment fur­ni­ture will be acquired with­in the next few months, and staff are assess­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of installing new car­pet through­out the build­ing lat­er this year.

One of the PHD’s key man­dates for the Vil­lage – adding capac­i­ty for low­er-income res­i­dents in need of long-term care – will take longer to com­plete. The ini­tial step in that process involves set­ting aside for res­i­dents on Med­ic­aid the four or five beds that typ­i­cal­ly go unoc­cu­pied due to res­i­dent turnover.

“Cur­rent­ly, we are in the process of apply­ing for our Med­ic­aid license, as we just got our license to oper­ate the facil­i­ty under the Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict,” said PHD Pub­lic Infor­ma­tion Offi­cer Han­nah John­son. “We will have more news on this to come lat­er in the year.”

The PHD aims to even­tu­al­ly expand its Med­ic­aid capac­i­ty to between 20 and 30 beds, but that goal is con­tin­gent on the sale of an addi­tion­al 20-year bond for an esti­mat­ed $2.5 mil­lion. The funds would be used to add ten to fif­teen rooms to the Vil­lage in a major con­struc­tion project that would start in 2023 and wrap up by the end of 2025.

The expan­sion is cen­tral to the Village’s abil­i­ty to serve low­er-income res­i­dents. In the facility’s cur­rent con­fig­u­ra­tion, accept­ing more Med­ic­aid patients would gen­er­ate sub­stan­tial finan­cial loss­es, because it would make those rooms unavail­able to res­i­dents pay­ing mar­ket rates. Split­ting the rooms to allow for two occu­pants instead of one would address that issue, how­ev­er by law Med­ic­aid patients must be pro­vid­ed a cer­tain amount of square footage, and most rooms at the Vil­lage would not meet that require­ment after being split. A few of the facility’s apart­ments are large enough, but accord­ing to the PHD the design of those rooms does not lend itself to accom­mo­dat­ing mul­ti­ple residents.

Each of the ten to fif­teen rooms added under the expan­sion project – at an esti­mat­ed cost of $100,000 to $150,000 each – would be designed with the inten­tion of host­ing two patients.

Addi­tion­al Med­ic­aid capac­i­ty was one of the pri­ma­ry goals put forth by the PHD as it sought com­mu­ni­ty sup­port for acquir­ing the Vil­lage at the Har­bor. The sale moved for­ward after a levy lid lift propo­si­tion passed with 54.3 per­cent sup­port in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al election.

The lid lift more than dou­bled the PHD’s reg­u­lar prop­er­ty tax levy from $0.34 per $1,000 of assessed val­ue to $0.70 – or rough­ly $180 per year for a prop­er­ty assessed at $500,000. It is expect­ed to yield approx­i­mate­ly $1.6 mil­lion in addi­tion­al fund­ing in 2022, of which rough­ly $325,000 will go toward this year’s debt ser­vice for the 20-year bond used to pur­chase the Vil­lage. The $2.5 mil­lion expan­sion bond would require an addi­tion­al $165,000 in annu­al debt service.

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One comment...

  1. Won­der­ful news! A win win situation’

    Comment by Sheila Harley on March 13, 2022 at 8:36 am

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