When Premier Healthcare Service was hired as Northampton County's Administrator at Gracedale, the census was down to 590. This means revenue was down, too. Turning that around was a top priority of this privatized manager, and by February 2015, the number of residents had increased to 681. Executive Lamont McClure has fired Premier, convinced the county can administer the home itself. But if census is any indication, it's time for another private administrator.
In February, Gracedale Interim Administrator Jennifer D. Stewart-King reported in February that census was down to 665. Last week, she told Council's Human Services Committee that it dropped even more, to 645 in June. This is now below what is budgeted, meaning a loss of revenue. At the current rate, Gracedale is about three months away from down to the level it was at when Premier was hired to turn things around.
Stewart-King said that she is working to increase census by reaching out to media, including radio and TV. She is also trying to recruit more staff, and has sent flyers to LPNs and RNs within a 30-mile radius. She even advertises in church bulletins.
"Just come and try us out; You'll fall in love with us,." she said.
That's actually a pretty good pitch.
DON told Council that mandated overtime is down from a high of 13 in May to just one this month.
This, however, comes with a price. Less staff.
According to Medicare, Gracedale is still rated below average, at two stars. That includes staffing.
This is not rocket science. The best way to increase staffing is by paying people more. When that happens, census will go up, too.