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Lehigh County hears Cedarbrook assessment report

By Cristiano Lima, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Apr 09 2014 09:02:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2014 01:16:59 PM CDT
Cedarb
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The Lehigh County oversight committee for the Cedarbrook nursing homes was presented with a financial study of the increasingly taxing facilities at a meeting this Wednesday.

The assessment report, conducted by the independent consultant Complete Healthcare Resources Eastern Inc. (CHR), outlined six potential options on how to handle the two facilities going forward.

Of those six options, three involved keeping the homes county-owned, while the others considered alternative methods.

“We’re not recommending any specific [option]” cautioned CHR representative Todd Wagner. “We’re giving you the information so you can review.”

Currently, the Allentown and Fountain Hill Cedarbrook facilities face a projected increase of operational losses from $4,673,717 in 2013 to $6,341,298 in 2014.

CHR partially attributed this rise to increases in pension and benefits packages across the state.

The group also pinpointed a dwindling revenue base caused by shared patient rooming and antiquated facilities.

“Cedarbrook Allentown is an older facility,” said Wagner. “Fountain Hill is more modern [and] has a little bit different clientele.”

According to the report, communal bathrooms, shared patient rooms and outdated facilities have resulted in a smaller usage rate of the beds, particularly for Allentown Cedarbrook.

“...They’re only catching 5% of the market share,” said another CHR representative. “That leads to the question why?”

The report states that in order to keep the nursing homes county-owned, Allentown Cedarbrook will either have to undergo large revenue enhancement and expense reduction measures or a replacement facility will have to be built.

Otherwise, the county will have to consider leasing the facility to a new operator, turning it into a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or sell it entirely.

“There will be no action taken tonight,” said the chair of the Cedarbrook Committee, Vic Mazziotti.

The committee will now seek to set-up an email address that will allow community members and employees to ask questions about the potential outlines.

The full report will be made available online via the Lehigh County website.

“I would urge anyone to get those questions to us as soon as you can,” Mazziotti said. 

They will meet next on Wednesday, May 21st at 6 p.m. at the Lehigh County Government Center’s public hearing room to follow-up with CHR and field questions from the audience.