(MACON, MO) In 1965, a group of citizens established and formed the first Board of Directors of the Macon County Nursing Home District - shortly after establishing the district through provisions of Missouri State Statute, the board presented a 15 cent per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation operating levy. The proposal would later be approved by voters. Over 50 years later, voters within the Macon County Nursing Home District will vote on a proposed increase for the first time in the existence of the Nursing Home District; this time the proposal is an operating levy of 20 cents additional to the original 15 cents, raising the levy to 35 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation.

After speaking to several members of the committee that is campaigning for the passage of this tax proposal, reasons for the tax levy increase range from a variety of reasons such as due to the increase of the minimum wage (passed by Missouri voters in November of 2018), the increase of employee health insurance, the rising bill of building maintenance and utilities, and the deficit of medicaid reimbursement. According to the audit of the Macon County Nursing Home District, the deficit with medicaid reimbursement is more than $25.00 below the actual cost of providing care for each resident. To be specific, with more than 40 medicaid recipients within the nursing home, the district has to make up roughly $1,000 dollars per day due to the deficit from medicaid reimbursement. In total, Loch Haven Nursing Home has roughly 120 residents.

The Macon County Nursing Home District is a non-profit district. Several questions from members of the community have risen concerning the difference between The Macon County Nursing Home District (non-profit) and Macon Health Care (for-profit). One of the biggest differences between the two is that Loch Haven Nursing Home is owned locally and by district patrons. Macon Health Care is owned by National HealthCare Corporation (NHC) which is the nation’s oldest publicly traded senior health care company that has stocks in the United States Stock Market. In 2018, they reported an approximate revenue of $980,349,000 which was a 1.7% increase from the year before. The Macon County Nursing Home District (Loch Haven) had an operating revenue of $9.1 million last fiscal year while having an operating loss of approximately $250,000. The audit also shows that the current levy brings in roughly $256,000 and that the proposed levy would bring in roughly $590,000 into the Macon County Nursing Home District. “We all have the greatest respect for the Macon Health Care.They do an outstanding job. We just want to continue to provide a second option for folks in the Macon area. Macon Health Care being ran by a corporation that is on the stock exchange, receiving a revenue of almost 1 billion dollars per year, they certainly don’t have any problems with revenue Furthermore, they don’t require a tax levy to operate their facility. On the other hand, with regulations coming down from government, minimum wage increase, a deficit with the medicaid reimbursement, and still wanting to maintain the staff we have while maintaining our facility, we want to prepare ourselves for what the future has in store for us. With revenue and options shrinking in today’s world, we want to continue to provide a competitive option for our patients and residents in Macon and the surrounding area,” stated Barb Primm. The committee also provided an informational sheet in which it stated on there, “As to the importance of to keep non-profits going, as with any business, competition is good. Keeps all entities shart. Further, we emphasize that many for-profit nursing homes may refuse admission to residents requiring heavy care. It is important to keep residents close to friends and family. Loch Haven is committed to continuing to serve the constituents of Macon County Nursing Home District.”

During the interview, Crystal Smith talked about the career development that the Nursing Home District (Loch Haven) provides for the youth attending the Vocational School at Macon R-1. “We employ our youth here in the Macon Area. Our youth are a vital asset for our future and we must continue to invest into them while making sure they have an opportunity to try out a future career. With programs at the Vocational School at Macon that allow students to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) while practicing what they have learned there at Macon R-1 while applying it here at Loch Haven, we are putting our kids in a prime position to not only see a possible career here in Macon after school, but to take their skills and experiences out into the real world and make a difference. We must always have a proactive mindset. Passing this levy will help insure that we continue to provide services while expanding opportunities to those who look to make a difference in their community.”

“It is important to note that when residents receive their tax bill for the county, the only thing that will be increasing if this tax proposal is passed, is the Nursing Home line item. Nothing else will be increasing,” stated Barb and Dan Primm.

The ballot language for the Nursing Home Tax Levy Election is:

“Shall the Macon County Nursing Home District be authorized to increase the annual rate of property tax from 14.24 cents ($0.1424) to 35.00 cents ($0.3500) on the hundred dollars assessed valuations?”

Voters within the district will get to vote either “Yes” or “No” on April 2nd, 2019.