Hope remains at Hope Creek

Number don't tell story, directors say

EAST MOLINE, Ill. - Despite the grim financial report, the Hope Creek Board of Directors is positive and say things are going better than they have in years.

"I'm now going into my third year on this board," said director Gregg Johnson. "There have been bad times and good times and I feel like now, I feel like the way the things have gone the last few months I feel like we're really trending up."

His sentiments were shared by other members as well as people who have family members at the center on Kennedy Drive in East Moline. Despite numbers that show a significant loss in revenue, those who live and breathe the care center say those numbers don't show the true story.

"Yes, we are having problems," said Chairman of the Board of Director Jessey Hullon. "But there are also a lot of bright sides to the other side of the coin as well. For the month of July, Hope Creek collected $1.2 million from the state, we collected over $330,000 that was owed to us over 120 days, our ratio for intakes is about 88% so these are a lot of positive things that are going on at Hope Creek."

The county has had control of the center since 2016, when they got rid of the private management company. Being county owned, the state's budget problems are a huge issue. 

"If the state would just step up and pay their bills, I can speak for Hope Creek, we would be in a lot better position than we are now," said Hullon. "This is a county owned nursing home so obviously the state owes us money. There is about $4.2 million in receivables."

"The biggest struggle right now is trying to receive that funding from state," said interim-executive director Cassie Baker. "The services are already rendered out to the community and to our residents here so that's money owed to us."

Besides the loss of revenue, the financial report also said expenses are way down. Baker said getting rid of the management company saved thousands, but they've also been cutting wherever they can.

"There are many ways we are cutting expenses," said Baker.  "One being we were overpaying certain entities for our purchases so we're looking at negotiating those prices. On top of that, just same as nationwide, we're having staffing issues. We do utilize a staffing agency right now for our nurses and our CNAs so we are looking to revamp and increase wages here at Hope Creek and we are looking to make sure we can increase our quality of care. Our quality of care will never be cut down just because of cutting expenses."

Some of the lack of revenue also comes from a closed wing from earlier this year. There have been some talks about what to do with it, which Hullon says are still going. They also need to increase staff before opening the wing again. 

"Some of these numbers are also skewed because we did close a wing," said Hullon. "We've got some positive things going on there as well. We are in negotiations with 2-3 entities that are probably going to come to Hope Creek and help with the revenue. Things are skewing in the right direction but it's going to take some time."

The board is not the only entity who think the care center is trending up. Sherry Brummet's mother has lived at Hope Creek for five years now. 

"It's reassuring to have her here I guess," said Brummet. "To know that she's getting the good care that she's getting and that there are so many caring people I don't have to worry about her."

Brummet says she is glad the center is in the hands of the county. 

"The county needs a home for the residents who have lived here all their lives, pay taxes here their whole lives, have been contributing members to the community their whole lives, and I think that they need to continue to have Hope Creek available for the people of the county.

She says the care her mother has received at Hope Creek is reassuring as of late. She saw the nursing home switch from county hands to private management and back to the county, and says it's definitely on a uphill swing. She says it's important to not be swayed by skewed numbers. 

"Rock Island County is important to us," said Brummet. "And the home is important to us."


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