New Rock Haven facility garners waiting list

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Gina Duwe
Monday, September 30, 2013

JANESVILLE—Gone are the days of the concrete block walls and the institutional feel of semiprivate rooms at Rock Haven.

Rock County's new long-term care facility that opened in May is attracting more interest, resulting in a consistent waiting list of 10 to 15 people, Administrator Sue Prostko said.

The old Rock Haven had a waiting list only occasionally, officials said, but residents at other facilities now are interested in switching to the new Rock Haven, Prostko said.

“The new facility is much more appealing in terms of a place to live than the old facility was,” County Administrator Craig Knutson said. “I think that's going to be more attractive to people.”

One factor that piqued interest was the switch to private rooms, Prostko said, though the referral rates from hospitals have remained the same.

“I think the perception of what Rock Haven represents has changed with the building,” she said. “I think people are really looking at us as a long-term care facility and not just a county nursing home.”


The 128-bed facility for rehabilitation and long-term care accepts only Rock County residents who need skilled care. Residents are accepted based on physical need, not income or payment methods, Prostko said.

People at home and in danger are among the first accepted over people who have gone from the hospital to another facility, she said.

People in a protected environment, such as another care facility, are placed on a waiting list, if one exists, she said.

“We have to look at immediate needs first,” she said.

Rock Haven accepts medical assistance and private insurance, but the number of Medicaid recipients has remained steady at about 85 percent of residents, she said.

While the rates are set on a case-by-case basis for those on medical assistance, private pay residents pay $300 a day, or $9,125 a month, which includes all services and food, except a private phone and satellite TV service.

This year, the county spent about $4.4 million to subsidize Rock Haven's operating budget. The annual subsidy has dropped as the operation downsized and became more efficient, Knutson said.

The complex is built in neighborhoods, with each unit specialized for the needs of the residents. They include:

Meadow Place: Rehabilitative care, complex medical care and traditional long-term care including intensive and skilled nursing care for frail and medically needy adults.

Harbor Way: Structured group activities, psychiatric and behavior interventions, as well as psychiatric and skilled nursing care for residents with gero-psychiatric disorders or severe and persistent mental illness requiring specialized services that many other nursing homes cannot provide.

Glen Lane: Intermediate and skilled nursing care for people with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. Activity socialization and life enrichment programs, safety systems and assistance with all activities of living are provided.


“The county's mission still is to care for some of the folks that other facilities can not care for because of their needs,” Knutson said. “That hasn't changed.”

When the county decided to build a new facility, it looked at whether to remain in the nursing home business, he said. Rock Haven continues to be a place for people who would “be basically in the care of the county through the developmental disability board or human services because of disability, dementia or mental illness,” he said.

“In many cases, other private homes can not care for them because of their needs and higher staffing ratios required, so the county still serves that role,” he said. “If we were not in the nursing home business, the county would still have a legal responsibility in many cases to provide for care.”

Options for providing that care included contracting with specialized group homes or with nursing homes in other counties.

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