Who Decides How Much Care Costs?

Candas Schouvieller, Administrator

Oak Hills Living Center cares for those who can no longer care for themselves and we do it with great passion and dedication. Providing 24-hour care for complex medical conditions in our residents; these warm, funny and loving human beings who have lived, raised families, built businesses and contributed to the community we enjoy today. In the middle of building the future of Oak Hills we have heard comments similar to, “for what they charge they don’t need financial help.” Let’s explore how nursing home care rates are assessed and determined.

On January 1, 2016 the Minnesota Legislature enacted a new nursing facility payment system called “Value-Based Reimbursement” (VBR). Nursing facility services are bundled into a comprehensive package and DHS establishes charges for this package of services as a daily rate. Under VBR these daily rates are updated every January 1 for each nursing facility based on the individual nursing facility cost experience and quality score.

While the cost of VBR is largely paid for by the state and federal governments, privately paying residents who have the ability to pay also have to pay the full cost of their care. Minnesota is one of the few states in the country that have a rate equalization law. Under this law, nursing facilities must provide equal services to nursing facility residents, regardless of payer source, and cannot charge private paying residents more (or less) than the rate paid by the state under its medical assistance (Medicaid) program. Third party payers (including Medicare and Long-Term Care Insurance) and some single/private room rates are exempt from rate equalization. While the rates charged to private pay residents cannot be different than the Medicaid rates, the rates for individual residents will vary based on the resident’s condition and the level of care a resident needs. Under VBR each facility has a set of 50 different daily rates called Resource Utilization Groups (RUGs). The lowest RUG daily rate is currently $239.12 per day while the highest RUG daily rate is currently $581.20 per day. The statewide average nursing facility daily rate is about $284.00 as of January 1, 2021.

Minnesota requires each resident to have a Resident Assessment Instrument to be completed. Once the assessment is completed, we submit it along with supporting documentation to the Minnesota Department of Health, who in turn calculates the final RUG level which then becomes the rate billed for the residents stay.

We Love Our Veterans!

Did you know that Oak Hills Living Center contracts with the Veteran’s Administration (VA)? It’s true, we do!

We have a contract with the VA for the Millennium Bill (Mill Bill) and for VA Hospice. We currently have two residents on the VA Hospice contract and ten on the Mill Bill contract.

The Mill Bill contract requires you to be enrolled in VA Healthcare and meet specific VA contract eligibility and require skilled nursing services either long term or short term rehab or require 24 hour supervision. The hospice contract requires you to be enrolled in hospice or three days pending hospice enrollment.

Growing Our Tomorrow

Thank you to everyone who has pledged or donated to our capital campaign, Growing Our Tomorrow. Your commitment to Oak Hills has brought us very close to meeting our milestone goal of $1 million by May 1, 2022! While our total fundraising goal is $2.6 million, this milestone goal is both appreciated and celebrated. Thank you for your support!

The expansion of Oak Hills Assisted Living will be completed in phases followed by adding a dedicated chapel and community space in a final phase. The first phase will include both the new building which will contain 15 memory care suites and 15 enhanced assisted living suites as well as adding 8 new 1-bedroom apartments to our existing private pay assisted living. We are excited to share we are planning our groundbreaking for the week of July 18th. With so many ever-changing variables today including inflation and supply chain delays we are grateful to be at this point.

Recently, I found an article from February 22, 2003, when Oak Hills was last fundraising for $300,000. The title was, “Oak Hills facing grim year despite campaign success.” State budget cuts were looming and we continued on. We are constantly faced with challenges in this industry. If we would continue to lead in fear, we would not be where we are today. On April 5, 2022, we met virtually with Senator Gary Dahms and Representative Paul Torkelson to advocate for Oak Hills for permanent wage increases for direct care staff, among other critical needs. Bills HF 3729 and SF 3195 would dedicate $500 million to caregiver wages. Staffing all long term care facilities is critical, please contact your legislators to advocate for the changes you would like to see in our community. I am happy to report that today, April 26, 2022, the senate passed both Bills. We work diligently every day so 20 years from now our successors will reflect on our work in 2022 that meant a new future for Oak Hills.

Total funds raised as of 5/2/2022

Staff celebrate years of service in April

We are so grateful to Karen Coyour for her 29 years of service, dedication and commitment to Oak Hills Living Center and our residents! Karen’s service goes above and beyond her work as a registered nursing assistant and caregiver. She has been known to take residents out to lunch on her days off, helping on fishing outings, making appearances as KC the clown and the Easter Bunny. She goes above and beyond to care for the whole person, learning their interests and making sure she brings them to those activities. All these things and so much more make Karen an exceptional caregiver and an all around great person! We appreciate you, Karen!

For 24 years, Tammy Grossmann has been calling Oak Hills her second home, taking residents under her wing and treating them like family. Tammy is a true caregiver and it shows every day! Thank you Tammy for your dedication and commitment all these years!

Peggy Kelley’s passion for all things food is contagious! You have been treating residents, staff, families, visitors, friends and the community to delicious food for 21 years! Peggy’s energy and determination are a tremendous asset and we are grateful!

Employee of the Month

Our employee of the month is Abby Bianchi! She was nominated by her co-workers who she trained as new hires calling her, “The BEST trainer ever!”. Thanks for all you do Abby! You are top notch!

May Employee Anniversaries

NameHire Year
Jamie Kruggel2004
Molly Fischer2009
Megan Grams2011
Kayla Becker2013
Nina Beise2015
Rachel Piotter2016
Julia Buboltz2018
Cassie Reed2018
Ryann Miller2019
Laura Steffer2020
Kenadi Steffl2021
Carly Achman2021
Elsie Munson2021
Katherine Fischer2021
Paige Frederick2021

Meet a Resident

On April 14, 2022, Erna Zahn celebrated her second golden birthday turning 114 years old! Erna is the oldest person in Minnesota, 5th oldest in the nation and 13th oldest in the world. When asked her secret for longevity she has said – eating oatmeal for breakfast, naps are important and brushing her teeth right after supper so she wouldn’t snack. Happy Birthday, Erna! We are honored to both care and celebrate with you! Happy Birthday!

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