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Budget and staffing cuts proposed in La Crosse County senior care

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The services being provided for older Americans are changing and many of those services are not offered any more by local government.

La Crosse County could make some budget and staffing cuts in nursing home services for the coming year.

Wanda Plachecki, executive director of both the Lakeview and Hillview homes, says the county tries to offer what privately-run facilities do not.

“Long-term care and residential services are the two areas we really focus on,” she said.

Plachecki spoke at Monday night’s county board meeting, where a proposal to cut 30 full-time jobs at the nursing homes was discussed.

County administrator Steve O’Malley told the board that Hillview, near the bluffs, may need significant remodeling.

“We’re going to be very challenged what the long-term health of the building is and what remodeling needs or replacement needs are there with no new ability to pay for other kinds of transitions,” he said.

O’Malley says county levy limits restrict how much money can be spent on the traditional elder care facilities, and there’s less demand at Hillview than there was a few years ago.

On the other hand, O’Malley added the county has been able to save about $9 million over the last decade.

The county is scheduled to pass its 2019 budget next week.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve O'Malley

    November 6, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I just learned of this news story on WIZM today regarding long term care and Hillview Health Center. What the reporter did not understand is that the budget decrease of 30 Full Time Equivalent positions has already been implemented due to a decline in census. The resolution that will be considered by the County Board simply reconciles the staffing allocation for the 2019 budget at the current reduced staffing level.

    There were a number of other things missing from the story as well:
    • Hillview has been self-sufficient for many years and has not required funding from property taxes. We do not have a plan yet, but will be looking at many options for the future needs of the Hillview building.
    • The $9 million mistakenly referenced as “savings” has nothing to do with Hillview, that was a reference to 11 years of payments by other Counties to Lakeview that has nothing to do with Hillview.

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