Mountrail County Bethel Home Board Adjusting the Number of Beds

Stanley, ND- Nursing Homes across western North Dakota are finally being impacted by a national trend. With more people staying in their own homes longer, there are fewer people entering care facilities. The Mountrail County Bethel Home Board has been watching the down turn and determining what adjustments must be made. Recently the Bethel Board reluctantly approved temporary downsizing by five beds, primarily to remain in compliance with Medicaid requirements that facilities must remain at 90 percent occupancy.

The state allows a facility to “layaway” the amount of beds they need to stay at the required occupancy level. After a year there will be a review to see if any beds can be reinstated. A similar review takes place after two years, and at that time, there are other options that can be implemented.

“North Dakota has a fixed number of Nursing Home beds they will allow in the state,” says George Olson, President of the MBH/MCMC Board. “The state has a moratorium on any new beds. They cannot simply take away beds from a facility, but they do manage the numbers through the use of Medicaid reimbursement. The Bethel Board, recognizing the cycles that nursing homes go through and knowing that they have a common area expansion and renovation program coming up, decided to reduce our facility from 57 beds to 52 beds. We know we are going to need those beds back in the near future but we felt this was the best strategy at this time”.

Olson cited that the reason the Bethel Board feels so confident is that once the upcoming “Phase Three” project is completed, the facility will offer a beautiful new Chapel, expanded and renovated Dining Rooms and a covered Transportation Center to keep the residents out of the weather.

“Our residents also have immediate access to a hospital with top notch staff, providers and technology including the Avera E-emergency program. We now have 24-hour CT scanner and a vastly upgraded X-Ray Machine”, says Mike Hall, MBH’s Interim Administrator. “And with the attached clinic adding new physicians and providers in its about-to-be finished twice-the-size clinic, residents have “down the hall” access to the best in medical care”.

Hall also noted the Physical Therapy Department is now fully staffed and are currently working toward the reinstatement of the Aquatic Therapy program through the Ina Mae Rude Aquatic Center.