Last Thursday, the Wallace County Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss the transition of the Wallace County Community Care Center, Inc’s management of the WCCCC facility to Hope Springs, LLC, whom they have recently contracted with to operate a Residential Health Care Facility.
Those in attendance included: Commissioners Larry Townsend, Becky Larson, and Mike Cowles, County Clerk Brionna Colvin, Eileen and Brad Porubsky of Hope Springs, Brian Gailey and Nancy Schmidt, board members of WCCCC, Inc., Lacey Hunter, Commissioner for the Survey, Certification and Credentialing Commission, who appeared via Zoom, Lace David, publisher of The Western Times, and many concerned citizens.
Townsend asked Hunter to explain what the transition from one license to the other would look like, step by step. At this point in time, WCCCC, Inc. has been given their 90-day notice to terminate their contract with the Wallace County Commissioners. WCCCC, Inc’s administrator, Jennie Klinge, has submitted her plan for closure, which has been accepted by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). After that acceptance, Klinge has 75 days to execute the closure plan, which is to include a 60-day Notice to Close letter being mailed to the residents (or families) that would outline their options. Hunter stated that she understood the Notice to Close letters have been mailed out to residents and that she has received the Porubsky’s application and thought it was reasonable to expect that the transition would be a smooth one.
Hunter explained that even though the closure plan had a specific date mentioned as to the last date WCCCC, Inc. would operate, it is understood that there might be a gap between the end date of WCCCC Inc.’s license and the beginning date for Hope Springs, LLC, and that the surveyors of KDADS are willing to work with them to extend the license for WCCCC, Inc while they finish processing the application for Hope Springs, LLC.
Townsend looked to Hunter and asked, “for clarification, the residents should not be told they won’t have a home.” Hunter said, “No, they should not.”
The possibility of a forced closure was discussed. Hunter explained that if at any time WCCCC, Inc. was found to be out of compliance before Hope Springs could become licensed, WCCCC, Inc. could be forced to close and must find new places for each of the residents to live, further explaining the possibility of KDADS being granted a temporary receivership. Receivership can be granted if a facility has been found to have concerns about insolvency or other deficient practices that could endanger the well-being of the residents.
Hunter further explained that typically, a facility found to be out of compliance due to short staffing would be required to rehome residents until the number of staff members available would be able to assure the safety and care of the residents. Safety is of the utmost concern.
Once Hunter was finished answering questions, the commissioners began addressing financial concerns that the WCCCC Board brought to them, including several invoices to review. As it was nearing lunch time, the commissioners decided to take a break to eat and visit Klinge to see if any other bills were outstanding.
Commissioners Townsend and Larson reconvened after lunch; Mike Cowles was absent. Commissioner Larson reported that there were quite a few more outstanding bills than had been presented earlier that morning. The commissioners and concerned citizens discussed options. Larson explained that Klinge was worried that the lack of staff would cause a deficiency and she would be forced to begin the process of an emergency shutdown.
The commissioners reached out to Lacey Hunter again. This time to gather more information about the process of an emergency shutdown, and specifically what it might look like for the situation in Sharon Springs.
If a deficiency in staffing has been identified, the administrator can call for an emergency closure, leaving the state to assume the responsibility of rehoming the residents. The Commissioners wouldn’t be able to reverse this action. They would have to wait for the Porubsky’s license to be approved and then reopen at that time.
After much discussion about options, the commissioners ended the meeting with plans to invite the WCCCC, Inc Board to another meeting either within the next day or two (Friday or Saturday).
Later Thursday afternoon, the Commissioners called a second Special Meeting for “5:30 P.M. regarding WCCCC emergency shutdown per WCCCC administrator.” Those in attendance were Wallace County Commissioners Larry Townsend and Becky Larson, Mike Cowles was absent, County Clerk Brionna Colvin, WCCCC, Inc. Board Members Brian Gailey, Melinda Daily, Nancy Schmidt, and Lyle Hammer, Lace David, publisher of The Western Times, and a number of concerned citizens.
Commissioner Townsend opened the meeting. Commissioner Larson explained that she had received communication from Klinge that indicated she was preparing to begin the process of an emergency shutdown. As of press time, it is not known if Klinge has filed for the emergency closure.
The commissioners asked the WCCCC, Inc board about the additional outstanding invoices that Klinge had presented earlier in the day. The board stated that they were made aware of the list that Townsend was holding, earlier that week.
The Commissioners tabled the conversation for the evening; planning to call another meeting with the WCCCC, Inc board within the next day or two. Updates on the next meeting will be available on our website at www.TheWesternTimes.com, our Facebook page, and in next week’s issue.
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Good Luck at State!
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