Hope Creek expands VA partnership to boost finances, workforce

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EAST MOLINE, Illinois -

Hope Creek Care Center, which is the Rock Island County-owned nursing home, plans to ease its financial strain by expanding a partnership with the VA.

The deal comes at a time when the facility wants to use all of its space and hire more nurses.

On Tuesday, August 15, the Rock Island County Board will consider a pay hike to help make its nursing salaries more competitive.

"It's going to help us out financially," said Hope Creek Executive Director Cassie Baker.  "VA is always on top of their payments.  We always want to encourage VA to come to Hope Creek."

For more information on eligibility requirements, call (319) 338-0581, extension 7141, or try the local VA clinic in Bettendorf, (563) 332-8528.  On the web, check http://www.explore.VA.gov .

Money problems earlier forced Hope Creek to close one of its wings. Now, there are plans to reopen it, so it can serve some 30 additional patients.

"We've obviously got some problems out at Hope Creek, no question about it," said Rock Island County Board Member Don Johnston.  "Most of it is financial, and a lot of it is caused by the state."

This partnership aims to provide quality care to veterans while they wait for placement in a long-term facility.  Right now, Hope Creek serves some 32 veterans.

"Some veterans want independent living," said Baker.  "Some want assisted living.  Some do want a skilled nursing facility."

It would also be more convenient for local families.  They could avoid a much longer commute to Iowa City.

"It's an expansion of what currently is happening," said Rock Island County Board Member Drue Mielke.  "It's working, or the VA wouldn't be interested in expanding it."

Hope Creek is working with the county to improve its long-term outlook.  The VA deal could help to accomplish that.

"The number one goal is to make sure that our residents are taken care of and to increase our finances," Baker concluded.

It could be a crucial element to reviving Hope Creek Care Center.