SYCAMORE – Mulling over a potential sale of the financially struggling county nursing home, the DeKalb County Board this week approved a $10,000 contract for a consultant to help make the decision.
The DeKalb County Board voted, 14-0, to approve a $10,000 contract for consulting and brokerage services related to the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center to Marcus and Millichap, which has offices in Chicago and Oak Brook Terrace, during its meeting this week.
County board members Maureen Little, Terri Mann-Lamb, Larry West, Karen Cribben, Bill Cummings, Laurie Emmer, Tim Hughes, Kiara Jones and Kathy Lampkins were absent from the meeting.
DeKalb County Administrator Brian Gregory said county government officials received positive feedback from references provided by the consultant prior to the vote this week.
“Just wanted to share back with you tonight that the feedback was really good,” Gregory told the county board Wednesday.
The Wednesday vote comes after the county board absorbed the operating board for the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center in December. The action was meant to be one of several steps the county government is looking to take to address budget constraints at the facility.
The decision to hire a consultant to come and assess financial realities of the center was also discussed last year, after the which recently underwent a $13 million expansion but now faces dwindling resident numbers and cost increases, officials said. Next steps could include the county government selling the nursing home to a private buyer, Gregory said previously.
County officials previously said the nursing and rehab center was meant to exist on its own financially. However, because of the continued budget constraints from the nursing home, the County Board has had to approve $4.5 million in total financial aid to the facility so far, according to county officials.
The average daily census for the DeKalb County Nursing and Rehab Center went from 181 in 2018, to 168 in 2019, to 141 in 2020, to 117 this year. In order to break even, the nursing home census would have to be at about 175 people, according to county officials.
County documents state the nursing home raked in about $2.1 million less than expected in revenue during fiscal year 2019. In August 2020, the county sold $13 million in bonds for the nursing home’s expansion project to be paid from operating revenues over the next three decades.
The expansion included additional rooms, an activity center, an upgraded fire alarm system, a nursing call system, a larger chiller and a new boiler system. A 15,400-square-foot transitional care unit added 18 rooms to the 83,000-square-foot facility.
The nursing home then collected $2.8 million less than expected in revenues during fiscal year 2020, according to county documents. The county treasurer’s office began to note cash flow issues with the nursing home fund in March 2021, which resulted in the county board approving a $2 million loan for cash flow purposes. By Sept. 1, the loan proceeds were exhausted, the documents state.
DeKalb County Board Chair John Frieders emphasized Wednesday the decision to hire a consultant to help decide the nursing home’s future didn’t mean other options besides a sale wouldn’t also be considered.
“This is not the decision” on whether to actually sell the nursing and rehab center, Frieders said.