Centre Crest nonprofit board names management company

The new Centre Crest nonprofit board has its management company.

Complete HealthCare Resources was hired Thursday as the first official action of the board, but terms and conditions of the contract have not been negotiated. CHR is acting as consultants for the Centre County Board of Commissioners and will continue until the transition to the nonprofit.

In its financial report to the commissioners, CHR budgeted a 2.5 percent management fee, which officials said is a standard contract for the industry. The management company will work on the operational side, and the first order of business will be staff retention.

“I think the highest priority is stabilization of staffing,” CHR Chief Operating Officer Cathy Otto said, adding that there will be in increased focus on employee recruitment as the nonprofit moves forward.

The new board — Mount Nittany Health board member Carl Raup, Mount Nittany Health Chief Financial Officer Rich Wisniewski, local business consultant Larry Bickford, Mount Nittany Health CEO Steve Brown, registered nurse Sally Walker, Centre Crest Auxiliary United Way liaison Betsy Boyer, retired banker Bill Rockey, auxiliary board member Connie Corl and recently retired Centre Foundation Executive Director Al Jones — has incorporated as Centre Care but has no intention of changing the name of the nursing home.

The board met with the Centre Daily Times on Thursday.

Boyer, the board president, said each member has a commitment to maintaining Centre Crest as a community resource and making the nursing home a viable care center.

“Each one of us is here because we believe in this and because we want it to work,” she said,

Bickford will serve as the board’s vice president, and Raup will take the secretary/treasurer role.

Mount Nittany Health-affiliated members compose a third of the board. Wisniewski said their experience with working in a nonprofit environment will be important in making the Centre Crest transition successful.

“Hopefully we can bring (our experience) to the table and make it a great organization,” he said, “even better than what it is today.”

Members of the board also reiterated that they are committed to keeping a high percentage of Medicaid patients in the facility.

Otto said there might be room to increase from Centre Crest’s current 70 percent level to the 80 or 85 percent levels that exist at other facilities her company manages.

CHR is tasked with identifying potential changes that can happen quickly to increase profits and get more people into the nursing home, at a higher quality of care.

The nonprofit board was not able to comment on timetables or goals for a new facility, but CHR has said a new Centre Crest would be a possibility in the next five years.

The nonprofit is still very new, Boyer said, and bylaws and mission statements have not been formed.

The board has not yet decided if its meetings will be open or closed to the public, but board members said the public can bring concerns directly to them.

Public input and participation will be important, Raup said, especially in keeping a high number of volunteers at the nursing home.

The county commissioners have discussed offering the nonprofit a rent-free start at Centre Crest, which board members said would be key in getting the effort moving. Commissioners Chairman Steve Dershem suggested five years rent-free, but no official action has been taken.

Wisniewski said eliminating that cost temporarily would provide the nonprofit with a cushion to take on any surprise expenses that might come along.

“Through this transition there are going to be some unexpected costs, and you can’t predict everything that’s going to happen,” he said.