If you go: Nursing home proposal
What: Neighborhood meeting on proposed nursing home off Red Apple Road
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10.
Where: Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 1400 S. Miller St.
Information: Regency South Inc., (425) 391-6646
WENATCHEE — A proposal to build a 55-bed skilled nursing facility off Red Apple Road in Wenatchee has area nursing home administrators worried about their financial health.
“It may be the coup de grâce for all of us,” said Bill Dronen, administrator at the Cashmere Convalescent Center in Cashmere. “Skilled nursing care in this area is really struggling.”
The proposal would close the 55-bed skilled nursing facility called Regency Manor in Chelan, and move those beds to a new, single-story facility off Red Apple Road in a 3.64-acre field just west of the irrigation canal.
The proposal comes from Regency Pacific, which owns 50 skilled nursing homes in the Northwest, including Regency Manor.
On Sept. 3, state Department of Social and Health Services officials granted permission for those 50 beds to move to Wenatchee. The move was approved because it is within the combined service area of Chelan and Douglas counties, said Karen Nidermayer, an analyst with the state’s Certificate of Need program. In that service area, there are 334 state licensed bed.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring, with completion in spring 2015, said David Stroud, president of Regency Pacific’s development division.
Stroud said the existing Regency Manor was built in 1968 and is not a good candidate for renovation. He noted that the Chelan facility has not been full.
“It’s a very small market up there,” he said of Chelan, “and you go where the population is. To go to the expense of a brand new facility in a small market area does not make economic sense.”
The market in Wenatchee “appears to be adequate to support another facility,” Stroud said.
Not so, say Wenatchee area nursing home administrators,
“It’s going to be a huge impact on us,” said Jean Lehman, administrator at Highline Convalescent Center in East Wenatchee. “There is just not a need for additional beds in this community.”
Lehman said her facility, which is licensed for 92 beds, is now at 66 percent occupancy, and has been close to that for the past year.
Among the reasons, she said, are that people are relying more on in-home services, there are more adult family homes, and assisted living facilities are taking in people with higher-level of needs than they used to.
At Cashmere, Dronen said, the 65-bed facility has only 51 beds filled. “We’re having a rough go,” he said.
The administrator at Colonial Vista Care Center could not be reached for comment.