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Nursing home might not be moving with hospital in Edgerton

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Stacy Vogel
December 11, 2009
— Edgerton Hospital and Health Services and Edgerton Care Center celebrated as one entity in 2006 when the hospital bought land on Highway 59 for a new facility.

At the time, the 61-bed nursing home was part of the hospital. The plan was to build new buildings for the hospital and nursing home on the 70-acre plot.


But the hospital and nursing home split up in August 2008, and now there's a chance the nursing home won't make the trip to the new campus.


"We are exploring other options," said Marilynn Perry, nursing home administrator.


The nursing home had planned to rent land from the hospital on the new campus and finance a new building, expected to cost between $6 million and $7 million, through a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


But the USDA found the lease agreement offered by the hospital unacceptable and will not approve the loan with the lease as proposed, Perry said.


Part of the problem is a clash in federal agencies, said Eric Gresens, president of the Edgerton Care Center board.


The hospital has applied to have its new facility financed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It can't change the lease it has offered the nursing home until HUD rules on its finance application, Gresens said.


"Ideally, we still would like to be on the hospital campus, and I think that's what the hospital wants, too," he said.


The nursing home is looking for a "Plan B," Gresens said. That could involve leasing different land or finding someone willing to donate land.


Dorothy Gunderson, chairwoman of the hospital board, said the two organizations are working together.


"We continue on working together, board to board, to have a positive outcome in order to meet the community's needs," she wrote in a statement. She declined to comment further.


The nursing home has an even more immediate concern than land for the new facility. Starting in January, the hospital will charge the nursing home rent for its operations on two floors of the existing hospital.


The hospital has asked for nearly $38,000 a month, Perry said.


"We cannot afford that," she said.


Edgerton Care Center has a lease with Edgerton Hospital, but the lease doesn't specify a rental price, Perry said. The hospital waived rent in 2008 and 2009, she said.


"We understood we would be able to stay here rent-free until the new (nursing home) was built," she said.


In an e-mail quoted in The Edgerton Reporter, Gunderson wrote:


"The hospital can no longer afford to shoulder these expenses for the care center as it has the past two years. Both organizations agreed to the conditions of the lease and signed the lease in 2007. The Edgerton Care Center is being asked to honor the lease it agreed to."


Perry and Gresens said they're confident the hospital and nursing home will reach an agreement on the rent issue. Even if they don't reach an agreement by Jan. 1, nursing home residents won't be evicted, they said.


"I know the hospital's intent is not to displace any residents," Gresens said.



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