Our View | Now the real work begins for Centre Care

October 31, 2013 

Centre Crest in Bellefonte on Thursday, February 14, 2013.

CHRISTOPHER WEDDLE — CDT photo Buy Photo

Now comes the hard part.

The months of planning, hiring and filling out paperwork are over. On Friday, the Centre Care nonprofit board will take over the Centre Crest nursing home and formally complete the transition from the county.

We salute board President Betsy Boyer and her fellow volunteer board members for taking on the job, and we wish them the best of luck.

They’re being entrusted with a local institution.

The Centre County Board of Commissioners’ decision to relinquish control of the facility, after decades under public control, didn’t come without controversy. Some critics worried about losing an affordable option for families needing care for their aged loved ones.

Commissioners Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos voted in favor of the change, maintaining that Centre Crest could receive higher Medicaid reimbursement rates if no longer county owned — a big deal when about 70 percent of the home’s residents receive the assistance.

But that’s all in the past.

What matters now is the future.

So far, the preparations have gone smoothly.

Complete HealthCare Resources, a management company partnering with the board, has hired a nursing director and human resources director and boosted the staff.

The board also has an aggressive marketing and community relations strategy in mind.

Having Steve Brown, CEO of Mount Nittany Health, and his health care expertise should be a major plus.

The board will need every ounce of energy. Ahead lies a tough road.

Centre Crest traditionally has run in the red. The number of residents had been declining. Centre Care now stands in charge — and on the hook for a loan of taxpayer money.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to co-sign a $1.5 million loan to give the nonprofit a credit history and an emergency fund.

That looks like a vote of confidence as well as financial support. Based on the work so far, their optimism seems justified.

But time will tell, and we can’t help but think of the line “Show me the money” from the movie “Jerry Maguire.”

No pressure or anything, but with Centre Crest’s future at stake, the same could be asked of its new management.

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