Future of County Health Care Center Could go Non-Profit
By Brandi Makuski
The Portage Co. Health Care Committee on Monday agreed to consider a partnership with St. Joseph’s convent for the future care of the county’s elderly.
According to County Board Chairman Philip Idsvoog, no decisions have been made but the county will consider replacing the Portage Co. Health Care Center with a new center constructed on the Sisters of St. Joseph Maria Dr. campus near Pacelli High School.
“We’re exploring basically, a new nursing home that will partner up with the nuns of St. Joseph’s, and quite frankly, exploring the relationship that would exist with a non-profit running it,” Idsvoog said on Monday.
The Portage County Health Care Center Committee recommended further study to see if creating a non-profit board and pooling resources is a good option, but Idsvoog said it’s not currently clear how much involvement the county could have in such a board.
“A big grey area that currently exists is what role Portage County would play on any governance board,” Idsvoog added. “As far as I’m concerned, once you have a non-profit running an organization like this, we’re not going to have really any say in terms of who gets hired or who doesn’t get hired, because non-profits run their own organization.”
County Executive Patty Dreier said while talks have only just begun, she thinks the idea has a lot of potential because the present health care center can’t meet all the needs of the elderly.
“Basically, what we’re looking at is the potential, because this isn’t any kind of a done deal, but the potential of having the Sisters (of St. Joseph’s) contribute their land, and having the county contribute it’s 100 licensed nursing home beds,” Dreier said. “When you put that together, that gives us a core around which we create a senior living continuous care community, kind of a community hub including a new nursing home, and assisted living, and memory care, and independent living.”
One possible future use for the current health care facility located on the corner of Water St. and Whiting Ave., Dreier said, could involve housing for homeless veterans through an agreement with the Veterans Administration.
The committee agreed to forward a resolution supporting further study to the Portage County Board, which meets next Tuesday.