Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Croy Canyon shifts senior-care plan

Independent living could be funded separately


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

An 11th-hour change to a proposed senior-care facility in Croy Canyon could take independent living—meant to help finance the rest of the facility—out of the mix.

The Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation announced during a public meeting last week that it would like to change its proposal for a tiered-care senior care facility west of Hailey to separate the construction and financing of independent living from that of the assisted-living and skilled-nursing parts of the campus.

The foundation’s original plan, drafted by Texas-based Greystone Communities, called for 25 independent living units in which residents would not need regular medical assistance but would have access to the amenities and activities of Croy Canyon Ranch. 

Monthly fees for the apartments would run from $2,009 to $3,656. Nineteen of the units would have reduced monthly fees in exchange for a move-in deposit of $146,331 to $228,694.

Foundation Director Kathleen Eder said in an interview that the deposits create an operating cash reserve for the entire facility, which can be invested or used if necessary.

“Those apartments have entrance fees comparable to what you could sell an average-size house for,” she said. “Those deposits give us some reserves to work off of. It protects the facility from operational shortfalls.”

Residents leaving the independent living units would receive much of the deposits back once another tenant had moved into that apartment.

The facility would also contain 22 assisted living units, eight spaces for patients with memory problems and 25 skilled nursing beds.

Eder said the new proposal would likely move building the independent living units last, in a separate phase from the other units. She said that the change was in response to concerns raised by the Blaine County commissioners regarding whether county voters would support a $29.2 million general obligation bond needed to build the entire facility and the legality of issuing a bond to build independent living.

Commissioner Larry Schoen said in an interview last week that he was concerned that while Idaho code allows counties to form hospital boards and create hospital districts, which could issue a bond to build medical facilities, he’s uncertain whether the same provision would allow senior independent living.

“My concerns are a bit convoluted,” he said. “The provisions for those mechanisms [the district and bonds] are outlined in Idaho code, and they relate to the operation of a hospital. The question I raised is, how does independent living relate to the operation of a hospital?”

Eder said the change is a response to Schoen’s concerns, and that she hoped separating out independent living would help lower the bond and raise community support for the project.

“We were listening and we know it’s a concern, and we think we can break it out,” she said.

Though she added that in-depth research would be needed to determine the bond’s precise amount if the independent units were removed, she said it could be lowered to between $15 million and $18 million.

“[The commissioners] support the project as a whole, but we need to figure out how to reduce the costs,” she said. “The commissioners are as unclear as we are if independent living can be part of a general obligation bond.”

Eder said the independent living units could be financed through grants or by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.

The commissioners agreed to let the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation board present the changes at a meeting in the second week of January, but Commissioner Angenie McCleary said she was concerned that further changes might delay the decision-making process.

“I’m open to changes and modifications from any of the responders,” she said. “But timing is important, and we need to make sure we’re working toward a really quality product in a timely way.”

Skilled nursing information

For information relating to all of the proposed facilities, visit Blaine County’s website at http://www.co.blaine.id.us/ and click on the “Skilled Nursing RFP” button on the left hand side of the page.


Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

 




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