By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — More than two years after planning began to overhaul North Central Health Care, the Marathon County Board of Supervisors approved a $67 million master plan for the facility by a vote of 32-4.
The plan addresses future needs for the entire NCHC campus, including the psychiatric hospital, the inpatient alcohol and drug rehab unit, community programs and Mount View Care Center, the county’s nursing facility. Projections show the entire $67 million will not impact taxpayers, but will instead be paid for through improved Medicaid reimbursements along with operating efficiencies facilitated by the plan.
Katie Rosenberg, who represents Dist. 1 on the board, said the master facility plan lays out the path to success by leveraging efficiencies for shared services at NCHC and Mount View Care Center.
“It calls for renovating the space to create flexible neighborhood pods that can be converted if the needs of the community change,” Rosenberg wrote, in a post on her official Facebook page. “It puts services and staff in locations closer to the residents’ needs, so they don’t need to walk for twelve minutes between different areas of the campus – especially in emergency situations. The renovations will also create a nursing home that not only ensures the protectively placed receive the services they need, it will attract a mix of residents with different payment options so the nursing home can generate revenue.”
Nearly two years ago, the county appointed a five-member committee to study options specifically for Mount View Care Center, the county’s nursing home. During the process, committee members considered contracting with another organization to run the facility or selling the facility altogether, but ultimately recommended continuing a partnership with NCHC. Selling the nursing home would not have satisfied the county’s responsibility to care for protectively placed residents, officials said.
“I greatly appreciate the County Board’s strategic and long-term thinking, especially from their leadership in getting this done, we have a very compelling vision in moving forward,” said NCHC CEO Michael Loy. “A bright new future for NCHC and the people we serve starts to unfold from here. There’s a ton of work now to deliver on but it’s very inspiring and meaningful work on behalf of the community. We really can’t wait to get going.”
The entire resolution can be found in the county board’s packet, available on the Marathon County website.
The official vote tally is embedded below.