Need for Medicaid Beds in Jackson County

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

Cedar Knoll Care Center in Grass Lake stands empty after having closed in March. It was one of only a handful of nursing homes in Jackson County serving a majority of those on Medicaid. Now it's left 150 spots or beds open for qualifying medical centers.

"It's our concern that those people who will be seeking those beds will be predominantly utilizing them for private pay. They may be certified to provide services to the medicaid population, but they don't have to," says Nancy Miller of Lifeways, the Community and Mental Health Authority for Jackson and Hillsdale Counties.

"Medicaid does not pay a very good rate and we're right now as of June 1st faced with a six percent cut in our medicaid rate, and that's going to be devastating to the area," says Lawana Parks of the Jackson County Medical Care Facility.

Miller says Lifeways, along with other non-profit organizations, plans to meet Monday with a representative of Senator Mark Schauer's office to brainstorm a solution. And she hopes the state, will take into consideration the medicaid population when granting the beds to requesting facilities.

"The state determines what is the capacity need for the county, and so once those beds are taken nobody else can come along and say I want to provide this type of service," says Miller.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, Cedar Knoll Care Center closed after the MDCH and federal government stopped Medicaid and Medicare payments due to licensing issues like uncleanliness and neglect. That left 60 people with nowhere else to go but out of county.

"One of the things that significantly effects quality of life of somebody who is medically fragile or elderly is being close to family, and if we're moving them to other counties or out of state because that's the only place we have to place them, we're moving most of them away from their family," says Miller.

Adds, Parks, "We'll never really know what the consequences of those moves will be."

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