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The City of Neligh is laying the ground work to take over as owners of the community’s nursing home.
Mayor Joe Hartz said he, along with several city employees, met last week with Ken and Linda Klaasmeyer of Klaasmeyer & Associates to discuss the potential purchase of Neligh Care & Rehabilitation Center.
The City Council will discuss ownership at their Tuesday, May 8, meeting and will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 24.
“It can be a very positive system and very positive for Antelope County. This isn’t just for Neligh, this is for the entire Antelope County,” Hartz said.
The Neligh facility is one of 21 Nebraska nursing homes that was put into receivership by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services after failing to pay its employees. The state turned the facilities over to Klassmeyer & Associates on March 23 as managers from the New Jersey-based Cottonwood Healthcare L.L.C. also known as Skyline. This ensured patients were taken care of and employees were paid.
Hartz has said multiple times that he was “deeply concerned about this situation” and that the “facility is vital to our community and to many, many people for their loved ones and for their employment."
Hartz said the City of Neligh would lease the building from Golden Living Center and would own the actual nursing home business. He also said while the City Council would be the ultimate decision makers, there would be a board in place to make recommendations.
Klaasmeyer & Associates would manage day-to-day operations, much like they do now and with many other facilities, Hartz said. A similar arrangement went into place last August between the City of Clarkson and Klaasmeyer & Associates when that facility was purchased from Skyline.
“This would be a great way to keep the management local,” Hartz said. “There will always be people on the city council who are interested in caring for their family and their friends, rather than being run by corporate.”
Hartz said while last week’s meeting set the foundation for moving forward, he wants the public to be involved in the discussion and ultimately the decision on whether to purchase the nursing home. He's encouraging people to attend the town hall meeting.
“Last week’s meeting was the first step. The next step is to talk as a council and then with the public meeting,” he said. “The more people we can alert to talk about it, the better. Let’s get the people involved and have everything out in the open. This affects everyone in Neligh and everyone in Antelope County.”