A $10 million plan to improve Lasata Care Center and add a 24-bed assisted living facility for frail elderly people and those with dementia to the Lasata Campus in Cedarburg was approved by the County Board Wednesday.
The board voted 24-0, with two supervisors abstaining, to approve the resolution, which “recognizes the merit in this proposal,” calls for the county to develop a detailed financial plan that would identify funding sources and repayment options for the $3 million community-based residential facility by November.
Supervisors Gus “Sandy” Wirth and Jim Uselding, both of Cedarburg, abstained.
The resolution also calls for a financial plan for $7 million in renovations to the county-operated nursing home to be developed and presented to supervisors during the first quarter of 2014.
These improvements include upgrading the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems to meet current codes, renovating the tub and shower rooms, day rooms, lounges and nursing stations and adding service kitchens to resident units.
The financing options could include not only traditional funding sources such as bank loans, bonds and notes but also a State Trust Fund loan or assistance from the Wisconsin Counties Association.
The plan, which was endorsed by the Health and Human Services Committee in June, will allow the campus to offer more appropriate services to its residents, officials said.
It is also seen as a way to keep the nearly 50-year-old nursing home viable by providing a continuum of care at the campus and making the facility more attractive to people.
Without that, officials said, the facility will struggle to attract new patients even as the senior population increases.
Without any changes to the campus, officials estimate the campus will lose $990,000 to $1.4 million annually from 2014 through 2022.
But with the changes, estimates show that the campus will lose less money annually and, in fact, turn a small annual profit by 2021.
The proposed expansion of the Lasata campus and nursing home renovations rekindled the long-running debate over whether the county should continue to own and operate the nursing home.
“We have an obligation to care for our residents and we have done so in a most fiscally responsible manner,” said Supr. Cindy Bock of Mequon, who is chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. “Adding to the campus to complete the level of care will make it more fiscally responsible for our taxpayers.”
Supr. Don Dohrwardt of Fredonia said he would vote for the resolution for different reasons.
“In bringing it (the nursing home) up to speed, this would provide us with a better chance of getting out of the business in the coming years,” he said.
The plan has its roots in a study commissioned by the county last fall and conducted by Eppstein Uhen Architects, Findorf and Sons and WIPFLI CPAs and Consultants. That study recommended the county adopt a $30 million plan that called for the county to raze and rebuild Lasata Care Center, replacing it with a 145-bed nursing home and a 30-bed community-based residential facility.
The CBRF is an assisted-living facility that would offer more services and care than Lasata Crossings, an assisted-living facility on the Lasata Campus.
The committee, however, recommended the downsized plan.