Hospital may receive $337,000 for nursing home careThe North Dakota House of Representatives has helped the Richardton Health Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital take a step closer to where both of the health care providers need to be.
By: John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
The North Dakota House of Representatives has helped the Richardton Health Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital take a step closer to where both of the health care providers need to be.
House Bill 1433 was passed by a 63-28 margin Thursday evening. The bill would grant supplemental funding in the amount of $337,000 from the federal government for its nursing home care.
Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Dickinson, said the legislation is just another piece in the great southwestern North Dakota health care puzzle.
“This was part of the whole process,” Johnson said.
The process started when the state’s congressional delegation was able to secure some additional funding for the Richardton Health Center if they relinquished their critical access designation, which St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center in Dickinson needed, Johnson said.
Johnson said it was important the bill pass so that transition was made a little easier for the hospital in Richardton.
“It would have been a little bit lighter funding and it would have been a little more difficult,” Johnson said. “We’re hoping now we can convince the senators that it’s important to also pass this.”
The bill was co-sponsored by all of the legislators from District 36 and 37, which includes: Reps. Johnson, Frank Wald, R-Dickinson, Shirley Meyer, D-Dickinson and Mike Schatz, R-New England and Sens. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson and George Nodland, R-Dickinson.
Meyer who introduced the bill said it was a relief to see the bill pass despite opposition that said the Richardton hospital was receiving unfair treatment.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased, I was so thankful,” Meyer said. “Richardton had agreed to give up their critical access designation to Dickinson and this was a very vital component.”
The bill was passed by the House as an emergency measure so it would take effect the moment it was signed into law.
The bill provides “for a special care rate to be paid to a nursing home that is owned and operated by a nonstate governmental entity.”
Jim Opdahl, administrator at the Richardton Health Center said the hospital has been in talks with the city of Richardton to take over the nursing home and then contract for a management operating agreement with the Hospital.
The city could then use sales tax money, already set aside for health care to meet the appropriate matching percentage and access the federal dollars.
“We are in discussions right now with the city of Richardton and if we can address the various issues, financial and get the skilled nursing facility in place and have the supplemental payment system there I think the city of Richardton would be willing to enter into an agreement with the Richardton Health Center,” Opdahl said.
The transition to a skilled nursing facility is planned to be completed by May of this year, Opdahl said and it is important the supplemental payment system because they will be over the limits in some areas because of the small size of the facility.
“This is one of those things in the memorandum of understanding that the hospital taskforce worked on,” Opdahl said. “It’s just extremely important that this bill passes for us.”