County housing authority taps Middle Park Health to manage Cliffview Assisted Living
KREMMLING — Middle Park Health will take over management of Grand County’s only assisted living facility, Cliffview Assisted Living, beginning this March following a decision by the Grand County Housing Authority and its board to terminate its contract with the current management.
Sheena Darland, executive director of the Grand County Housing Authority, said the change in management is due to a desire to have management be more local. Senior Housing Options, the current management of Cliffview Assisted Living, is based in Denver.
“We wanted to localize the management of the facility,” Darland said. “We’re hoping that we can work closely in partnership with Middle Park Health to make sure that our residents are receiving the best care they can receive.”
The decision to terminate Senior Housing Options’s contract at Cliffview also comes after the Grand County Housing Authority took over management of the other two senior living options in the county, Grand Living Senior Home in Granby and the Silver Spruce Apartments in Kremmling.
Those properties had previously been managed by Senior Housing Options and Darland said in December that the Grand County Housing Authority was taking over those properties to provide more local management.
Darland explained that local management allows for a closer working relationship between the housing authority and management, easier access to the properties, which means that issues can be taken care of more quickly, and it helps to streamline operations, such as billing.
Although, Middle Park Health had not previously had a role at Cliffview Assisted Living, Darland said the county reached out to the hospital to manage the facility because of the level of care needed by residents.
“There’s not a lot of property management services that are able to provide the services that are needed at Cliffview, such as Medicaid billing,” Darland explained. “It’s a better fit. We hope to have a better flow with the residents, if they do need a higher level of care that they can’t get at Cliffview, then they can transition to longer-term, higher care at the hospital, and vice versa.”
Tiffany Freitag, director of community relations for Middle Park Health, said the hospital agreed that there was value in keeping Cliffview’s management local.
“We are joining forces with the county to help manage Cliffview a little more locally,” she said. “We want to make it a good, fun place to live for residents.”
Currently, Middle Park Health is in a transition period until it takes over management on March 1 so that it can conduct assessments of the building, equipment and supplies, get to know the residents and incorporate billing and maintenance needs into existing infrastructure. The hospital is also consulting Centura Health for guidance on how to manage an assisted living facility.
“Obviously, (Centura is) a lot larger than we are so they have more expertise in some of these areas where we haven’t yet obtained that expertise,” Freitag said.
For the costs associated with the transition period, the Grand County Housing Authority is paying Middle Park Health $50,000.
The transition period also allows for staff, including Cliffview’s new director Mary Jo Hargadine, time to adjust.
While Cliffview will have new management, Middle Park Health plans to keep the operational staff already working at Cliffview. However, those employees must become employees of Middle Park Health, so they will need to pass background checks and drug tests, as well as have the necessary licenses and certifications.
“The plan is to keep those staff members there because they’re experienced with the residents and they know assisted living flow,” Freitag explained.
Darland said the goal with the transition period was to make the change in management as smooth and as stress-free for the residents and staff as possible.
“The intent is to keep it run the same way,” she said. “As owners, we just want to make sure that the residents and staff know that we are supportive of this change and (Middle Park Health’s) management.”
Aside from the convenience of local management, the housing authority also hopes that Cliffview can become financially self-sustaining again under Middle Park Health. Darland explained that for the majority of the facility’s history, the county hadn’t needed to financially support it until the last year and a half.
She said that as long as Cliffview’s 24 units are full and there are no staffing issues, the housing authority wants to be able to fund upgrades to the property.
“We hope that eventually the property can be able to make enough that we will be able to put more money into it in the future and make those upgrades and keep it nice for the residents,” she said.
Ultimately, Darland said the goal with having local management is to ensure the residents receive the best care possible and feel at home at Cliffview.
“It’s a big deal to me that the residents feel that it’s not just a facility, that it is their home,” she said. “I want it to feel like their home and I want them to be comfortable and feel like they are part of our community because those residents mean a lot to our community.”
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