January 2022 Newsletter

We Believe Every Life Has Value

Candas Schouvieller, Administrator

The Oak Hills Operating and Foundation Boards of Directors along with some of the Oak Hills Leadership Team met on December 15th to discover our “WHY”. We had a wonderful morning finding why we support Oak Hills. We believe every life has value. That is why we persevere, care, grow, and evolve. We evolve so you can flourish here.

It is important to continue to invest in your community. Oak Hills puts that as a priority. We continue to have a wait list for our long-term beds and have had to decline admissions to our assisted living due to safety concerns for people with memory loss. Our older population is growing, and we don’t have enough capacity in our setting to meet that need.

We would like to take the burden off of our long-term bed wait list, allowing us to care for people in our community immediately, so they don’t have to travel outside of the community they live in. That is why we are where we are today. We need to look at different ways to meet the growing number of older adults that need our services. Our solution is to expand our facility and extend the continuum of care with enhanced assisted living and memory care suites, which in turn allows us to serve our community’s growing needs.

Planning for this expansion began in 2019, then we were all hit with an unexpected pandemic and now we have to move forward. Our project will go out for bids in February 2022, break ground in spring 2022 and anticipate completion in October 2023. The total project cost is $13 million. We will look to our community to help us raise 20% of the total cost by giving generously to our capital campaign, Growing Our Tomorrow. We believe everyone deserves access to care that will maximize their quality of life in this community.

Will nursing home rates go up because of the expansion?

Good question! No. Nursing homes receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid dollars, private pay and a variety of insurances. Minnesota is a rate equalization state, which means the private pay rates are the same as the Medicaid rates. Medicaid rates do not cover the cost of what it takes to care for an individual. Nursing homes are unable to keep up financially with this type of payment system.

Oak Hills has approximately 65% of our census as either private pay or Medicaid residents. To offset this loss, we participate in every quality improvement project offered. Additional reimbursement comes from the State of Minnesota as we demonstrate quality outcomes. It is very challenging keeping up with inflation when rates do not cover the cost of care. We cannot strictly rely on the State for our funding.

Let’s Talk Staffing

Nicole Blekestad, Director of Human Resources

We are excited to share we are in the process of completing our first OnTrack class for upcoming nursing assistants. OnTrack allows students to complete the coursework online and complete skills and clinical training in person at Oak Hills. We are grateful for our partnership with MVL who had several students join this program.

Whether these students become Oak Hills employees or not, we are glad to be able to partner with schools to build the workforce pipeline of young people entering healthcare. For Oak Hills specifically, we completed skills training for 6 new nursing assistants last week which will directly impact our afternoon shift. Our overnights are fully staffed and we have 1 CNA opening on day shift. COVID continues to impact our staffing levels when staff are required to quarantine, out ill, or daycares closing due to outbreaks. So, even when blocks are filled we can always use additional casual staff to pick up these unexpected open shifts. Other key positions needed include day shift homemaker and cook. We are also in the process of hiring for an RN Case Manager.

Recently, I was asked if we have ever been fully staffed in my 10 years at Oak Hills?

Yes, there have been times where we have had short stretches of complete staffing levels. Those times are fleeting as our afternoon shift is largely filled with young people gaining skills to grow their careers. It is incredibly rewarding to see them grow and we understand what that means for recruiting.

January Employee Anniversaries

We would like to extend our gratitude to those who give to the Oak Hills Memorial Foundation. Your gift allows us to recognize our dedicated staff on their work anniversaries with a modest gift. Thank you and thanks to these special people having a work anniversary in January.

Name Hire Year NameHire Year
Carmen Broste1991Cora Haas2019
Rachal Becker1996Aftyn Hoffmann2019
Janice Kral2000Kortney Schroeder2020
Sarah Reinhart2005Bailey Tadlock2020
Scott Ries2014Darla Dezeeuw2021
Brittany Rose2014Jenna Ebert2021
Tessa Achman2017Connor Versch2021
Kali Denn2018Daniel Wagner2021
Abby Gieseke2019
Congratulations and thank you for your service to the residents of Oak Hills Living Center!

Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Carly Johnson, CNA, voted by her co-workers as employee of the month. Carly is a true team player, often staying late or coming in early to care for residents. Staff love working with Carly. Employee’s of the month nominated by their peers and receive $25 in Chamber dollars. Thank you for all you do, Carly!

Meet a Resident

We are excited to introduce you to Don W. Don’s home base is Whispering Pines, but you will find him zipping around on his power chair most days. He goes out of his way to say “Good Morning” to staff and residents all over the building. Don is especially grateful for Molly, who advocated for his power chair. He enjoys Cindee K.’s singing and looks forward to seeing biscuits and gravy on the menu! Don served his country in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Thank you for your service, Don!

Thank you to all of our generous members and donors for your gifts during our 2021 annual appeal. Your gifts have already purchased a sitting scale for assisted living and will make additional impacts to resident care, staff recognition, activities and rehab therapy in our 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The fiscal year for the Foundation is October 1 – September 30. Our annual report for the 2020-2021 fiscal year has been posted. We are always happy to mail you a copy of the annual report upon request. Enriching the lives of our residents is our top priority so we are diligent about reducing postage, printing and mailing expenses as much as possible.

We appreciate every phone call answered, meeting accepted, email and letter returned as we work together to Care for Today while Growing our Tomorrow. Visit our Events & Campaigns page to stay up to date.

Questions? [email protected] or 507-233-0851


19th Annual Bowling Classic

February 28, 2022

Watch your e-mail and mailbox for more details.

Business Office Buzz

Did you know you can pay a bill or add money to a resident trust account by automatic withdrawal? Yes, you can! Contact Paige Olson, Accounts Receivable at 507-233-0868.

Remember you will need bus tokens again beginning January 3rd! These can be purchased from resident trust accounts or cash at the front desk.

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