Negotiations begin on nursing home
Leavenworth County commissioners on Thursday opened the door for the possible construction of a new county infirmary.
Commissioners unanimously voted to negotiate a 15-year lease agreement with Citadel Holdings, Overland Park, for the operation of the infirmary and possible construction of a new building. The vote includes a 30-day planning and transition period during which Citadel will evaluate the business, including marketing and staffing.
Jeffrey Phillips, owner of Citadel, said management of the nursing center would be provided by Rainmakers, another Overland Park business that Phillips owns.
Rainmakers currently manages nursing centers in three Kansas towns: Moline, Dexter and Winfield, as well as in St. Joseph, Mo.
Phillips told commissioners that the infirmary, currently home to 35 residents, is antiquated. His long-term plans are to construct a new building, possibly leaving one wing of the existing structure for storage space.
County counselor David Van Parys said, "I think one of the most positive aspects of the proposal is that Mr. Phillips is going to come in and create a lean, mean county infirmary."
And, Van Parys said, leasing the home to Citadel and the planned changes would benefit the county for years.
"A long-term commitment and bricks and mortar is the way to do it," he said.
Phillips said a decision on whether to construct a new home would take time.
"Two years is probably realistic," Phillips said. "By the time you get the bonds sold, the architects plans and for everyone to agree."
During the 30-day period of transition and planning, the county will continue to pay the infirmary's bills, including Rainmakers' fees, which will be $500 a week. After the end of a month, if a lease agreement is approved, Citadel will take over expenses. But, Phillips said, the county would foot the bill for part of any operational losses for a period of time to be negotiated.
"Because the home's operating losses have been so dramatic, it's not very feasible for somebody to come in and assume that liability right off the bat," Phillips said.
In a year from now, Phillips, said, he hopes his work will have produced a stabilized occupancy rate at the infirmary, stabilized the financial statement and will be on the way toward beginning construction of a new home.