Doug Chos, who managed Blue Valley Lutheran’s Care Home in Hebron, was given a welcome reception at the nursing home Oct. 18.
He started at the Care Home in June of 2018, and as residents were moved to the nursing home, Chos was offered the position. His first day was Sept. 3.
The Care Home building is empty, but it is not technically closed.
“It’s still a licensed facility,” Chos said, meaning staff is conducting operations inside.
Chos hails from a small town in Minnesota with a degree in exercise physiology. He has worked as a personal trainer and entered long term care as a dietary manager. He eventually obtained his administration license and came to Hebron for the career opportunity. Chos and his wife, Stacey, live in York.
He said he doesn’t mind the drive and job is perfect for multi-tasking.
“It can be high stress, but I like the different angles,” he said. “One minute I’m in the kitchen, and the next, I’m dealing with maintenance. Next week, we’ve got meetings and serving Meals on Wheels. I enjoy it.”
Care Home residents were moved to the nursing home, with the exception of two, who went to other locations. There are 54 residents currently living in the nursing home. The facility has room for 64.
There wasn’t much that had to be done to prepare for the Care Home residents — Chos said the wing was up to fire code and needed a magnet lock, and some painting and cleaning.
He plans to do well as nursing home administrator and promote a culture of people who want to be there, namely, staff, residents and families. Turnover has been a problem, however, the facility has a wonderful future.
“The building is great, the county is great and we have to manage our expenses,” he said.
Chos has worked for good and not so good administrators and said he learned a lot, such as the effectiveness of listening to staff and residents.
“Bad ones blew you off,” he said.
Too many nursing homes closing around the state are a concern. There is trouble with inadequate Medicaid reimbursement.
“It’s varied based on level of care, but significantly under what it costs to house residents,” he said. “It’s two years behind the times. The legislature needs to do something because you can’t have that amount of nursing homes closing in the state. Where are Nebraskans going to go for their rural care?”
Those needing long term care, at least in the western part of the state, have to drive at least two hours to receive it.
“That’s not OK. There are still elders that need to be taken care of,” Chos said.
Former adminstrator, Kent Hohensee was the one to announce the residents were moving from the Care Home in a news release.
“By doing this, Blue Valley will be able to continue and maintain its mission of serving the intellectually and physically disabled, and will be able to do so without the additional administrative and physical plant costs currently incurred,” the news release stated.
The process of consolidating the two homes was expected to take about two months while LTC Midwest worked with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to manage the process.
LTC Midwest is the management company for Blue Valley Lutheran Homes Society, Inc.
The news release also stated Blue Valley intended to retain the certified beds at the Care Home if reimbursement changes favorably.