Survey Says…

Candas Schouvieller, CEO / Administrator

On October 6, 2023, a survey was sent out to community members, board members and staff asking for feedback about Oak Hills Living Center and we asked what “skilled nursing” care means to you. Responses ranged from “Treating patients with dignity and respect” to “All facets of daily living assistance, keeping residents safe, emotional/social support for residents, communication to medical providers and families” and many similar responses in between.

Oak Hills Living Center provides both assisted living and skilled nursing care to the community of New Ulm. Members from the Oak Hills Living Center Operating Board and the Oak Hills Memorial Foundation Board lead by Markgraf Consulting, LLC., came together on October 26, 2023 to determine the most important next first step for Oak Hills Living Center.

Funding from the State of Minnesota for the skilled nursing facility has always been precarious and additional regulations make operations more complex every day. What should we do next? Sometimes, in the most trying of times the best thing to do is pause. During this pause we greatly appreciate your feedback. Our Board members met for three-hours and there were many ideas and solutions discussed. The one that rose to the top of the list was educate our community.

It is important to understand what happens in a nursing home. Nursing homes offer a full set of services, including skilled nursing, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bathing, dressing and toileting. At Oak Hills Living Center, we also have a short-term rehab unit that we can offer services like IV treatments and other more skilled nursing services.

We receive referrals from hospitals, public health, families and physicians for our community members who require 24-hour care not able to be provided in another setting. In many cases, home care or assisted living is no longer sufficient. We have many options for home care and assisted living in our area and that is fantastic! All hands on deck to care for our seniors.

Oak Hills Living Center is the only skilled nursing facility in New Ulm. We hear many community members say they plan to stay in their homes with home care and while we genuinely hope everyone can stay in their homes, we know that is just not possible for everyone. We ask you to have conversations with your friends, family and community groups to educate them about skilled nursing and please let us know if you’d like us to visit your group, club, school or workplace to provide education on this essential service in New Ulm.

Advocacy Alert

LeadingAge Minnesota, a trade association existing to transform and enhance the experience of aging, needs your help in advocating for nursing homes in Minnesota against the federally issued minimum staffing ratios for nursing homes. LeadingAge Minnesota states:

Despite the current workforce reality, the evidence that no single staffing level would guarantee quality care, and our ardent advocacy to negate the most troubling portions of this rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a rule that will impose minimum staffing ratios. We are disappointed our calls to moderate and mitigate the potentially devastating impacts of the rule were not heeded.

We share the Biden Administration’s goal to ensure that every senior receives safe, quality care, but more regulation and red tape is not the answer. In fact, it may even work against the goal and make accessing care more difficult than ever while simultaneously driving up the cost of care.

A recent study commissioned by CMS states that:

  • Minimum staffing ratios will exacerbate access to care challenges, either delaying care or, in the worst case, not receiving it at all.
  • More than 11,000 nursing homes across the country would need to hire more staff, with a $1.5 – $5.3 billion price tag, annually.
    • A separate study by Clifton Larson Allen estimates the national yearly cost at $11.7 billion.
    • New analysis shows an estimated annual impact of $83.8 million to Minnesota nursing homes, or an average of $240,000 per facility.

Minnesota is aging, with more than one million older adults calling the North Star state home. Ensuring care for them in the places they choose to live requires federal and state lawmakers to be partners in workforce development and funding our health care infrastructure, not pursuing unfunded mandates.

Take action today by contacting your members of Congress to share your concerns and invite them to your community to see first-hand the work you do and the harm a staffing ratio would cause. (Contact information for Congress members below was taken from their respective websites)

US Senator – Amy Klobuchar

1130 1/2 7th Street NW, Room 212

Rochester, MN 55901

Phone: 507-288-5321

US Representative – Brad Finstad

110 N. Minnesota St., Suite 5

New Ulm, MN 56073


Staff Celebrate Years of Service in November

Jessica Weisbrich, RDN, LD, CDM, CFPP, celebrated 16 years with Oak Hills Living Center. Jess leads nutrition services for our residents, works tirelessly throughout the community to advocate for Oak Hills Living Center, as well as statewide and nationally to educate other nutrition services professionals. Every resident who calls Oak Hills home short-term or long-term has a nutritional assessment and plan developed and monitored by Jess. A natural leader and out-of-the-box thinker, Jess continues to challenge norms and has been recognized nationally for her work. Thank you, Jess!

Jessica Klinkner, RN, celebrated 15 years with Oak Hills Living Center. Jess is a dedicated and experienced nurse working our overnight shift. She leads by example and does an excellent job of keeping things running smoothly. She has a great work ethic and is dependable. Thank you Jess for being a leader on our overnight shift! We appreciate you and are glad you are part of the Oak Hills family!

April Fischer, celebrated 11 years with Oak Hills Living Center. April is a natural caregiver making sure the residents receive great care. Always up for whatever fun dress up activity planned brings our residents great joy! Thank you for calmly coaching those around you to bring the very best to our residents.

November Employee Anniversaries

NameHire Year
Cindy Apitz2007
Rachel Guggisberg2014
Taylor Forstner2017
Emily Stoner2017
Sammantha Meidl2018
Katherine Hames2019
Dana Oswald2020
Rebecca Yates2021
Megan Ubel2021
Gwynne Gutzke2021
Kennedy Steele2022
Karissa Carroll2022
Keri Johnson-Reuben2022
Laura Buechner2022

Employee of the Month

Sabina Traulich, RN, was nominated by her co-workers for her nature of looking out for everyone and always having the residents in mind. Sabina works as a charge nurse on Neighborhood 1. She works hard and never loses her cool. She shares her beautiful smile with everyone she meets and has a heart of gold. Sabina treats staff and residents alike as valued members of her family.

Oak Hills’ Wish List

Looking for a way to give a special Holiday gift to the residents at Oak Hills Living Center! Here are a few items our residents would use immediately! Please contact Wendy Broderson, Fund Development Director, for questions or to schedule a drop off. 507-233-0851 or [email protected]

October Happenings!

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