Blue Hill Care Center gets second chance

BLUE HILL, Neb. (KSNB) - When Azria health purchased the Blue Hill Care Center they originally found it to be not financially viable and opted to close. But the town did everything they could to keep it open.

After nearly closing down, the Blue Hill Care Center is getting to stay open and is showing just how important the facility is to the town. (KSNB)

“Quality healthcare is hard to find in rural areas,” Business Office Manager Mandy Meyer said. “So it is fortunate that we have a couple in this area but a lot have closed. We are centrally located which I think helps us and we have the town support, the community support is huge here.”

Staff at the center and community members hosted a town hall where many people came out to show Azria how losing this facility would be detrimental to Blue Hill.

“Seeing that passion, we really wanted to see what we could do with this facility going forward,” Azria Health Regional Director of Operations Jane Streit said.

The care center is the third largest employer in town. It closing would have cost about 40 jobs and made the 35 residents relocate.

“We called around and there were 10 beds open in a 45 mile radius for these people to go, people who have lived their whole lives [here]. It was a bit of a panic,” Meyer said.

But now with the doors staying open there is a focus on getting rid of agency nurses and finding more permanent employees.

“There is somewhat of a nursing shortage in Nebraska and not being near a larger city or town makes it difficult so it's really keep those people we have here in town local,” Streit said.

Keeping more regular nurses is also better for relationships with residents. A new administrator will be starting later in the month to continue with improvements. The town of Blue Hill and care center residents are glad they will be staying in their home.

“They are our residents, but they're out family too,” Meyer said.

Streit said they are hopeful for the future of the Blue Hill Care Center and there is no immediate threat of the facility being potentially closed again. The facility does have beds open for people looking for a nursing home.