State Funding

Across Minnesota, dedicated caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living are working hard to provide safe, quality care and ensure our state’s seniors age well with the respect, care and support they deserve.

That is why it is so unfortunate to read about recent developments at the State Capitol. Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota House DFL are proposing funding cuts to nursing homes and creating funding disparities of up to 20 percent based solely on a zip code rather than the needs of our aging citizens and those who provide them with care.

A $68 million cut to nursing homes is a giant step backwards in what was once progressive reform to ensure access to safe, quality care for our rapidly-growing aging population and improve the wages and benefits of professional caregivers.    

In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature approved a new funding formula for nursing homes that based reimbursement on the actual cost of providing care. Because of this investment in senior care, St. Francis Health Services was able to increase nursing wages and benefits by 33 percent.  We were able to provide fully paid health insurance for our employees working over 30 hours per week.  We became more competitive amidst a shrinking labor pool in the communities in which we serve, improving our ability to recruit and retain staff as well as create pathways to help them advance in their careers. It also provided a sense of certainty and stability to the seniors we serve today and those who may one day require skilled nursing care.

The funding cuts proposed by Governor Walz and the Minnesota House DFL is the wrong direction for Minnesota. Our senior population is soaring as 60,000 people will turn 65 this year and every year through 2030. Over the next decade, Minnesota will need an additional 25,000 professional caregivers to help take care of them. Already, workforce shortages are restricting care for seniors. More than 4,000 seniors were turned away from nursing homes last year because they lacked the necessary staffing.

How do we properly care for our growing senior population when the state is cutting support to the places and the people who care for them? This is the time for Minnesota to support and invest in our aging population and the dedicated caregivers who help them age well and live life with purpose in the place they call home.

Kind Dining Training Begins as part of Nutrition and Optimal Weight (NOW) Grant Implementation

A Kind Dining training was held April 9-11, 2019 at Little Falls Health Services facilitated by Cindy Heilman, CEO of Higher Standards and Creator of Kind Dining.  Kind Dining is a meal service method based on hospitality and “bringing warmth to the table.”  This program will provide staff the knowledge and tools necessary to enhance the dining experience for residents by promoting person-centered care and nurturing a healthy sense of community and service.  The Kind Dining trainer at each care center will train staff in the concepts, practices, and standards of Kind Dining.  St. Francis Health Services is committed to improving the dining experience for our residents to reduce the number of residents experiencing unintended or unexplained weight loss. 

Front row: Jeremy Brew (Viewcrest Health Center-Duluth)
Middle row: Vicki Koschak (Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center-Hibbing), Tina Janezich (Chisholm Health Center), Tracey Egan (Farmington Health Services), Christine Toupal (Renville Health Services), Renee Thompson (Zumbrota Health Services), Cindy Heilman (Kind Dining)
Back row: Joyce Schiele (West Wind Village-Morris), Karen Wilson (Pennington Health Services-Thief River Falls), Stephanie Fairchild (Koochiching Health Services-Littlefork), Pam Bellamy (Little Falls Health Services), CarrieAnn Jonas (Aitkin Health Services), Sheila Greseth (Browns Valley Health Center), Jessica Hondl (Franciscan Health Center-Duluth)
Marla Miller, Corporate Grant Coordinator, with Cindy Heilman, Kind Dining/Higher Standards

2018-19 Leadership Academy Class Finishes Strong

2018-19 Leadership Academy Class Finishes Strong

Leah Nelson, VP of Human Resources for St. Francis Health Services and Crystal Holloway, Home Care Director for Morris Health Services recently completed the 2018-19 Leadership Academy program after a nine-month journey of learning, exploration and skills development for 36 emerging leaders in the older adult services field. LeadingAge Minnesota’s Leadership Academy is a unique leadership development program designed specifically to cultivate high potential, transformational leaders in the field of aging services. 

The program blends leadership theory, applied learning and personalized coaching. Fellows participate in a rigorous journey of interactive experience, self-reflection, critical skill development and action learning.

More than 250 professionals have graduated from this prestigious program since its beginning in 2010. They represent a new generation of transformational leaders in aging services – leaders who will not just respond to the changing times but who will drive positive change for their organizations and the aging services community. 

Congratulations Leah and Crystal!

St. Francis Health Services Begins a New Dining and Nutrition Services Improvement Project

St. Francis Health Services of Morris (SFHS) is beginning their Nutrition and Optimal Weight (NOW) Project as a result of being awarded a Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).  Over the next two years, the SFHS long term care collaborative will work to improve the overall dining experience and the nutritional status of individuals receiving services at Aitkin Health Services, Browns Valley Health Center, Chisholm Health Center (dba Heritage Manor), Franciscan Health Center (Duluth), Farmington Health Services (dba Trinity Care Center), Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center (Hibbing), Koochiching Health Services (Littlefork), Little Falls Health Services, Pennington Health Services (Thief River Falls), Renville Health Services, Duluth Health Services (dba Viewcrest Health Center), Morris Health Services (dba West Wind Village), and Zumbrota Health Services. 

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St. Francis Health Services CICC Project Expands Infection Prevention & Control Program and Improves Antibiotic Prescribing in Long Term Care

Marla Miller, SFHS Corporate Grant Coordinator, holds up the Community Immunity booklet that is shared with residents, families, visitors, and staff as part of the CICC project

St. Francis Health Services of Morris (SFHS) has actively been expanding their overall infection prevention and control program and has implemented an antibiotic stewardship program in each of their thirteen skilled nursing facilities; Aitkin Health Services, Browns Valley Health Center, Chisholm Health Center, Franciscan Health Center (Duluth), Farmington Health Services, Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center (Hibbing), Koochiching Health Services (Littlefork), Little Falls Health Services, Pennington Health Services (Thief River Falls), Renville Health Services, Viewcrest Health Center (Duluth), West Wind Village (Morris), and Zumbrota Health Services.  On January 1, 2017, SFHS launched its Controlling Infection Challenges Creatively (CICC) Project as a result of being awarded the Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).  Since then, SFHS has implemented evidenced based practice guidelines for infection prevention and control with the ultimate goal to provide the safest and most optimal resident care. As a result, SFHS is seeing a decrease in their overall infection rate.

Continue reading “St. Francis Health Services CICC Project Expands Infection Prevention & Control Program and Improves Antibiotic Prescribing in Long Term Care”

Luverne Hoffman, CEO Retires

Luverne Hoffman retires after a momentous career.
In 1979, Luverne was hired as the Administrator of West Wind Village, formally known as the Villa of St. Francis. In 1984, following five years as administrator of the Villa of St. Francis, Luverne created and became the CEO of St. Francis Health Services. What followed was a remarkable expansion that began with development of a powerful strategic plan and mission.

Luverne’s vision, along with a trusting and wise governance board, created the MN based health care system. Today St. Francis operates 13 skilled nursing facilities, 10 housing with services centers and 78 community and residential group homes. Our 2600 employees provide services to 786 residents at any given time and 330 clients in communities throughout MN. With revenues at FYE 2017 of over $107 million, much has been accomplished and many have been served through the hard work and dedication of this individual.

Continue reading “Luverne Hoffman, CEO Retires”

Danielle Lesmeister receives BSN degree

Danielle Lesmeister, St. Francis Health Services’ Director of Home and Community Services, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with honors, from the College of St. Scholastica during commencement exercises in Duluth on May 13th, 2017.  Sharing in her celebration were her husband, Casey, their 4 children, her parents, Mark and Hazel Miller of Browns Valley, and her brother, Andy.  Danielle began her employment with St. Francis Health Services (SFHS) in 2004 as a staff RN, having received her Associates of Science degree in nursing from Fergus Falls Technical College.  She has provided service to many clients through both Prairie Community Services and St. Francis’ home care services.  Danielle stated: “I’m honored to have the opportunity to obtain my BSN and greatly appreciate the support of my family, SFHS, co-workers, tenants and their families.  Although returning to school with both an active family and a full-time job has kept life very busy, it truly has been a learning and rewarding experience.”  As Director of Home and Community Services, Danielle supervises home care services in SFHS’ nine assisted living sites and is a strong advocate for senior services in Minnesota; serving on numerous association councils, testifying at the Legislature, and providing seminars and support for others.

Pictured: Danielle with her son William


 

SFHS Launches CICC Project

St. Francis Health Services advocates for Quality of Care and Safety in their Long Term Care Centers under new Infection Control Grant

St. Francis Health Services (SFHS), Morris, MN, is excited to launch their Controlling Infection Challenges Creatively (CICC) Project as a result of being awarded the Minnesota Nursing Facility Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) grant by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).  Over the next two years, the CICC Project will allow SFHS to develop, revise, and expand their infection prevention and control programs in their thirteen skilled nursing facilities; Aitkin Health Services, Browns Valley Health Center, Chisholm Health Center, Franciscan Health Center (Duluth), Farmington Health Services, Guardian Angels Health & Rehab Center (Hibbing), Koochiching Health Services (Littlefork), Little Falls Health Services, Pennington Health Services (Thief River Falls), Renville Health Services, Viewcrest Health Center (Duluth), West Wind Village (Morris), and Zumbrota Health Services.

Although the care centers within the SFHS network already have policies and procedures in place to prevent infections, this grant will allow them to thoroughly assess and evaluate further what more can be done to reduce the rate of infections.  We will implement evidenced based practice guidelines to provide the safest and most effective care to those residents who make our care center their home. The overall infection prevention and control policy, systems, and environments of the care center will be affected.  This will include enhancing surveillance, accurately identifying infections, performing timely reporting, doing extensive investigations, advocating for proper treatment, reducing the overall rate of infection, and preventing the spread of communicable diseases.

SFHS will develop additional training protocols and resource materials for residents, family, nursing, and all other departments.  The grant will expand the role of the infection control nurse, who will receive specialized training and certification.  Additional training opportunities will be made available to staff working in environmental, housekeeping, and dietary services also.

The timeliness of this grant coincides with a national trend towards reducing infection and transmission rates within the healthcare industry, especially long term care facilities. Antibiotic Stewardship is a key component of the grant and resources, training, and guidance pertinent to antibiotic use will be provided to all its care centers. The plan is to collaborate further with our healthcare partners, medical directors, attending physicians, and consultant pharmacists to assist in setting up standards of practice and guidelines to allow for the best outcomes for our residents needing care for infections.

Marla Miller, Registered Nurse/Public Health Nurse, is the Corporate Grant Coordinator for SFHS.  Miller states, “This is an excellent opportunity for St. Francis Health Services and our thirteen skilled nursing facilities to really make an impact.  In public health nursing, it is the goal to not only focus on the individual, but on the overall population and what contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of that group. Understanding the various types of infections that are common within this population and recognizing the factors that make these individuals susceptible to illness and disease is key in controlling and reducing infection rates.  When we pull the data, assess the information, and look at our numbers, we know that within this population there is an individual person represented.  That person is someone’s spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, etc.  We know that what we do on this level affects each one of our residents.  That affect not only transcends to those residing in our skilled nursing facilities, but to their loved ones and community.  I look forward to partnering with our entire team to make improvements where necessary and to enhance those areas where we are already excelling.  Each facility has its strengths and it is the goal to build upon those strengths for the benefit of our residents and the staff working there.  It is the hope that SFHS will be a shining example of what can be done as we advocate for further improvement in the quality of care that we provide. ”

The CICC Project began January 1, 2017 and will continue through December 31, 2018.  SFHS is a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization.  In addition to their skilled nursing facilities, they offer a variety of services that include customized/assisted living, a full range of therapies, senior housing, transitional and skilled nursing care, and behavioral and residential programs throughout the state of Minnesota.