JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Numerous people — including Senators, a Representative, a mayor and several concerned Missourians — turned out to voice their opinion on six applications to the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee.
In a meeting that exceeded four hours, a previously denied certificate of need was approved along with four others.
Clarendale of St. Peters was approved, in a unanimous, 6-0 vote, to establish a 110-bed assisted living facility in St. Charles County.
The project was originally denied in July.
“In terms of size and scope of the project, it’s pretty much the same,” Richard Watters, the applicant, said. “What’s changed is you don’t see the other facilities here in opposition.”
The full project is an 208,000 square foot facility, consisting of independent living, assisted living and memory care units. The development consists of 114 independent living beds, 22 independent living villas, 70 assisted living beds and 40 assisted living beds dedicated to memory care, totallying an investment of $45 million. The certificate of need related to the assisted living and memory care beds for $12.5 million.
“This project will create jobs,” David Erickson, of Ryan Companies, said.
The project has a “huge economic benefit” according to state Rep. Phil Christofanelli.
The committee did question the need based on a 15-mile radius, population based equation that showed a current bed surplus.
Those that spoke in favor, noted that many residents of St. Charles County are unwilling to cross the Missouri River into St. Louis County, where a majority of care facilities are located.
State Sen. Bill Eigle! called St. Charles County “one of the fastest growing counties” and said the facility “meets a great need.”
“No resident spoke against this project,” St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano said of the three local hearings the facility went through for local approval.
Susan Mosier, a member of the St. Peters Senior Advisory Committee said the facility was “long overdue.”
No witness spoke in opposition to the project and it was approved unanimously in a 6-0 vote.
Clarendale wasn’t the only care facility to merit long discussion in the first meeting of the year.
Delta South Nursing and Rehabilitation was approved for 3 additional Skilled Nursing Facility beds of the 25 they asked for.
The facility, which gained approval in 2015 and opened this past summer, currently has 35 SNF beds and 15 ALF beds with the capacity to hold 10 more beds.
“Our (SNF) beds are full,” Bobbie Young, administrator at Delta South, said. “And we have 42 people on our wait list.”
Delta South proposed giving up their ALS beds and turning them, plus adding 10 more, to skilled beds. Young said this would allow them to better serve the community.
Those who spoke in support of the expansion, described facility as the “best in Southeast Missouri” with a friendly atmosphere.
“It’s like home,” Sheela Broza said, “not a facility.”
The opposition didn’t focus the quality of care that Delta South provides but rather the need for more SNF beds.
“I don’t see the need for the additional beds,” Tom Richie said.
The lack of need was a recurring theme of the ten who testified against the expansion. Several sited 250-300 current open SNF beds in New Madrid County and a population based equation indicated a nearly 500 bed surplus.
John Dalton called this Delta South’s “second attempt to saturate the market” and said they “failed to make a case of need.”
Ultimately, the committee voted 5-1 to approve 3 addition SNF beds for Delta South.
The application by Moberly Retirement Center to establish a 18-bed residential care facility had a few red flags for the committee.
An issue that brought up a question of legality was a change of address.
“The owner decided to use land he already owned,” Tom Hoeferlin, project consultant, explained. The change moved the location of the facility 1½ miles southeast.
According to the law, a certificate of need can only be issued for the address on the letter of intent.
Committee Chairman Rep. Jack Bondon said he appreciated their honesty on the change of address and the only thing worse would have been the applicants lying to the committee.
However, that wasn’t the only concern of the committee.
“Don’t have all their ducks in a row,” Brandon Garber said.
The application, which was missing a detailed summary and the financial analysis, was denied in a unanimous, 6-0 vote.
In much more straightforward proposals, the committee unanimously approved Mercy Hospital St. Louis in O’Fallon replacing their 18-year-old MRI machine, Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Ballwin to add an additional MRI machine to meet their current backlog and The Lodge in Fayette adding 20 ALF beds.
The committee — which consists of Darryl Winegar (absent), Cynthia Circo, Michael Burbank, Bandon Garber, Rep. Kip Kendrick, Rep. Jack Bondon, Sen. Mike Cunningham and Sen. Kiki Curls — will meet again on March 5.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.