Overton County Commissioners approved a reduction of 35 beds at the Overton County Nursing Home, a reduction that will save the facility $100,000 annually.
The action came during last week’s regular meeting of commissioners after a lengthy discussion on the matter. County Executive Ron Cyrus introduced the resolution as to “approve or not approve” the reduction.
“The next order of business will probably be the most contentious right here tonight,” he told commissioners.
Cyrus told commissioners once the beds are reduced, known as decertifying or delicensing, it would affect the value of the nursing home.
“I want you to know that when you decertify these beds, you are devaluating the nursing home by approximately $2 million,” he said.
However, commissioners said the beds haven’t been used, and the purpose is to save money.
“The purpose of doing this to save money. We’ll save $100,000 a year,” Commissioner Darwin Clark said.
Commissioner Frank Martin added it would give additional room for remodeling and adding bathrooms at the existing facility. But Cyrus warned it might not be easy to get additional beds allocated once the 35 are released.
According to Cyrus, once beds are decertified, they go into a state pool and are allocated as necessary.
Clark said the beds could be reallocated to the facility based on need if it becomes necessary, but it is not a process that would happen all at one time. Overton County Nursing Home Administrator Jennifer Bouldin echoed Clark, stating a certificate of need would be necessary in order to add beds, as is required for all nursing home facilities.
Cyrus said it might be possible for another nursing home to come into the area and apply for the decertified beds, but Bouldin stated if the current facility has empty beds, a certificate of need would not be granted to another facility. She said with the new addition of The Cottage building at the nursing home, which will add private rooms and baths, the total beds available would be 125. The current census of the nursing home is approximately 100 residents.
Bouldin said the trend is in additional services, including home care and homemaker services, and the facility may want to consider to offer these in the future.
The resolution to decertify the beds passed on an 11-1 vote, with Commissioner Bruce Ledford voting no and Commissioner Billy Parrott passing on the matter. Commissioner Glenn Honeycutt was absent from the meeting.