WATERLOO — The new owner of the Country View care center is asking the state to expand its mental health care beds.
The Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to endorse the center’s request to the Iowa Department of Public Health to take on 32 more clients with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
“As the long-time owner and operator of the facility, Black Hawk County recognizes the critical services provided in this facility to people in our community,” said the board’s letter.
The county government sold the 168-bed care center to a private nursing home interest, Pritok Capital, of Skokie, Ill., effective Jan. 1. The name was legally changed to Black Hawk Nursing and Rehabilitation, which is doing business as Pillar of Cedar Valley.
Administrator Sheri Sigler said Pillar has increased its census from 115 to 127 residents being served during the first two months of operation. But the 34-bed intermediate care facility for the intellectually disabled and a 20-bed unit for clients with persistent mental illness are full.
Pillar wants to add 11 beds to the ICF/ID Aspen unit and 21 beds to the ICF/PMI Pines unit under its licenses.
“Yes, they are more challenging,” Sigler said. “But we do a great job with those populations and have a waiting list a mile long since the state of Iowa is in such need.
“There are only three ICF/PMI units and very few ICF/ID units in the state that take our level of acuity,” she added. “We are actually getting quite a few referrals from other nursing homes that are unable to care for their residents with persistent mental illnesses, and … the local hospitals are having a tough time placing them as well.”
Additional space is available in currently vacant rooms in the skilled nursing facility portion of the building.
Sigler also said Pillar is preparing for several remodeling projects, which will including a new purple-and-gold color scheme. An open house is expected once those improvements are complete.
Supervisor Chris Schwartz, who opposed the Country View sale, said he continues to hear from some employees who are not happy with the transition from county employment to the new ownership, and said he didn’t believe things “were as rosy” as presented at the nursing home.
But Schwartz said he supported the request for additional mental health care beds at care center due to the need for those services in the community.