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RICO Board approves analysis of Hope Creek Care Center

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- With a vote of 13-10, the Rock Island County Board approved a study that will look at the county-run nursing home's financial situation and future.

The comprehensive cost-benefit analysis will be completed by Management Performance Associates, the company that previously managed the care center before the county terminated the contract, county board members said.

But some board members and people living in the county say the study is a waste of time and money.

"It's also on the agenda for you to hear and vote to spend $29,000 to hear a consultant to tell you what you need to hear or what you want to hear to clear your conscience," Don Pearson said during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Board member Richard Morthland said it will only tell the board what they already know about the facility's finances.

But other board members say the study is the first step to start fixing the problem.

"I hope this new MPA review will give us some enlightenment of where we are today, what's possible and what's not possible and how to work within our means," board member Rodney Simmer says.

The analysis is supposed to be done within 90 days, by the end of February. It will not only look at Hope Creek but also its marketability and challenges other nursing homes are facing in the area. MPA will also provide suggestions for how to move forward, whether that means selling the facility or starting a private/public partnership.

Board members say they'll have to work quickly and make tough decisions after getting the results. Simmer says the care center will run out of credit near the end of the year unless action is taken.

"Hopefully (MPA) can come up with some ideas that will get us out of this crisis we're in," he says.

Some board members expressed frustration that this problem has been kicked down the road in the past.

"Maybe we should have looked at an in-depth analysis like this sooner," Board Chairman Richard Quijas Burnk says. "I think this board is prepared to make some tough decisions."

Hope Creek is more than $4 million in debt.

Related: Hope Creek Care Center advisory board president resigns, wants board dissolved

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