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Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Sunday, April 7, 1985 Page 3 Battle looms over 24-hour care in Kansas nursing homes By DALE GOTER Kansas Correspondent TOPEKA (HNS) - The issue of around- the-clock nursing care for the 25,000 residents of Kansas nursing homes may develop into a major clash between the state Legislature and Barbara Sabol, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The stage for the confrontation was set last week when the Kansas Senate directed Sabol not to issue regulations requiring intermediate care nursing homes to have licensed nurses on duty 24 hours a day. The directive, which would not expire until July 1987, awaits action this week in the House of Representatives. However, Sabol said Thursday she may proceed anyway with the enactment of regulations requiring the 24-hour care, a move which would fly in the face of the Legislature's intent. "I can't commit to not doing anything," Sabol said, pointing out a growing need for 24-hour care in nursing homes. "Our population is getting older, hospitals are discharging patients sooner, there is more chronic illness. If that continues to escalate, I would be remiss to say I wouldn't react to those needs." Around-the-clock nursing care is a top priority of Sabol's agency, and Gov. John Carlin recommended funding of the program in his proposed 1986 budget. The concept also was endorsed by the Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature last year, and is supported by other groups such as the Kansas Coalition on Aging and Kansans For Improvement in Nursing Homes. Fewer than 40 of the more than 300 intermediate care nursingjiomes in Kansas currently offer 24-hour licensed nursing care. Those without it rely on nurses' aides to monitor residents during late-night and early-morning hours, a situation that Sabol and others say is unacceptable. In previous years, the Legislature often voided regulations enacted by the executive branch by simply passing resolutions. However, the Kansas Supreme Court last year ruled that Legislative resolutions, which do not require the governor's signature for adoption, have no authority to overturn executive branch regulations. The resolution passed by the Senate this week directs Sabol not to require 24-hour-a- day licensed nursing care, but legislators acknowledge the resolution is powerless in itself. However, its purpose is to send a strong message to Sabol, they say. The resolution pre-empts an effort by several state agencies and senior citizen groups to have 24-hour nursing care enacted into law. A bill requiring 24-hour care still is in committee, but adoption of the resolution by both houses would make it highly unlikely the bill would be brought up for action. Legislation mandating 24-hour licensed nursing care generally has been opposed by the Kansas Health Care Association, representing more than 300 Kansas nursing home owners. The measure also was opposed by Sen. Roy Ehrlich, R-Hoisington, chairman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. Ehrlich, whose committee drafted the resolution, said the 24-hour care requirement would place too great of a financial burden on residents who pay their own way and are not subsidized by state Medicare programs. However, proponents of the change argue the cost is minimal — averaging about $11 a month — and that the additional care is essential to meet the needs of a growing population of vulnerable elderly. Dick Hummel, executive director of the nursing home association, said his group supports the resolution. The cost of carrying out a 24-hour-care regulation has been understated, he contends, and could be as much as $45 to 60 a month. The association also had argued that nursing homes in rural areas would be unable to find enough registered nurses to comply with the requirement. Ehrlich also argues that free enterprise should be allowed to handle the problem. If 24-hour care is demanded by nursing home clients, the industry will respond, he says. Sabol disputes that claim, saying that most residents choose a nursing home based on its proximity to their home. Few of them are willing to move away from their home communities in order to have 24- hour nursing care. Ehrlich says he doesn't know the exact cost of 24-hour care, but contends that private-pay patients cannot absorb additional charges. "The self-paying patient is running out of money," he says. "People in nursing homes in my district are paying $1,000 to $1,300 a month. How many of us distinguished senators on the floor could pay this amount and for how long? I, too, want the best services, but who is going to pay for it?" The resolution also directs state agencies to keep track of how many nursing homes voluntarily move toward 24-hour nursing care, and report those findings to the Legislature the next two years. Kansans for Improvement in Nursing Homes (KINH), a consumer advocacy group, ridicules the resolution for its attempt to delay action on 24-hour care. "This resolution assures us we will have no more licensed care, beyond the current standard, than the nursing home industry chooses to give us until after 1987," said Marilyn Bradt, KINH spokeswoman. Dorothy Van Cleef rehangs a plastic egg on the tree outside her home. Craig Chandler Van Cleefs go out on limb for Easter tree By BRENT BATES Staff Writer Dorothy and Glen Van Cleef don't mind the bunny that constantly sits in a tree in their front yard at 937 S. 10th. It's nothing out of the ordinary. In November, turkeys can be seen perched in the bare tree. In October, there are pumpkins, hearts in February and shamrocks in March for St. Patrick's Day. The Van Cleefs not only decorate their tree at Christmastime, but for all seasons. "I like to do that kind of stuff," Dorothy said as she sat in a living room adorned with Easter decorations and handiwork she has constructed over the years. "It's cute. It's different." The tree, actually a dead, twisted branch from a cedar tree stuck in the ground, currently is decorated with about 5 dozen colored, plastic Easter eggs that hang daintily from each branch. The large, plastic Easter bunny clutching a paint brush is tucked among the branches, sitting just above an Easter basket filled with eggs. A sign proclaiming "Happy Easter" tops off the decoration. The idea for an Easter tree was sparked eight to 10 years ago when the couple saw an ornately decorated Easter tree in Lindsborg. For many years, until the tree got too big to decorate, the Van Cleefs adorned the tree in their back yard with Easter eggs. "I think Easter eggs are a sign of new life," Dorothy said, "It's a sign of new hope for Easter." Last fall, the couple received the gnarled branch from their son who lives in New Mexico. They stuck the branch in their front yard and decorated it. Easter was a half-year away when they received the branch, so they bedecked the tree with pumpkins, befitting the Halloween season. The garnished tree has caused many a passing motorist's head to turn, but it's the amazement expressed by the neighborhood kids that makes it worthwhile, according to the Van Cleefs. "The kids in the neighborhood really are impressed," Glen said. "I get more fun watching the little kids." Acreage requirement could stymie plans to buy sugar plants By BRENT BATES Staff Writer GOODLAND — A requirement calling for $100 to be paid to a new sugar beet cooperative for each acre planted to beets has made several farmers in western Kansas reluctant to commit their land to the crop, several beet growers said Saturday. "The cost to go in at $100 an acre is making it hard," said Clarence Roberson, a St. Francis beet farmer. "They haven't convinced me yet that it's going to go. It's getting late. Something has to be done fast." The payment is part of a plan for sugar beet farmers to purchase six Great Western Sugar Co. beet processing plants. One of the plants is in Goodland, the others are in Colorado. £ The sugar beet growers have formed a cooperative and have agreed Jo buy the plants for $67 million. But the sale, which needs the approval of the U.S. bankruptcy court in Dallas, hinges on the acquisition of 85,000 acres of sugar beets that must be contracted in the two- state area. The farmers who contract their acreage must agree to a $100 per- acre cash commitment that would provide financing to buy the plants. Pete Pratt, president of the Rocky Mountain Sugar Beet Growers Association, said the Colorado plants received commitments for more acres than the Goodland plant. He said 15,000 acres need to be contracted in the Goodland area to make operation of the processing plant economical. He said only about 10,000 acres have been committed thus far. "Some farmers can't afford it," Pratt said. "There's a lot of interested people who haven't committed. They're waiting to see if it Library addition built with oil gift I By DAVID SEVENS I Staff Writer ; STOCKTON — It was a gift prompted by a simple request. Now, Stockton will show off its .2,300-square-foot addition to the public library at 'a dedication ceremony 2 p.m. Saturday. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., and Duane Johnson, state librarian, are scheduled to be on .hand for the dedication. Kassebaum will be the .guest speaker, according to librarian Neola Breckenridge. . the new addition) which opened Dec. 15, 1984, was made possible by a $250,000 grant by Frank and Marvel Walker, Stockton. The gift from the Walkers was from the oil rights on their farm outside of Stockton. Oil was discovered on their land in 1980. • "I was up there for the first time today since it was finished," Marvel Walker said of her visit to the library on Friday. "I think it is really nice and I like it very much. I'm glad everyone does too," she said. ; Walker said she and her husband decided to dontate money for the addition after a visit to the library. "I was up there (at the library) one day to hunt up some books on financial problems; of what to do with your money," she said. Walker said a staff member said, "Why don't you give the money for a nice library in Stockton?" Although the suggestion was the catalyst behind the decision, a practical reason for the new addition was the 13 steps one had to walk up to think for a small we have a real nice library." — Neola Breckenridge "We town, get into the building. "I was beginning to notice how hard it was to get up there," Walker said. The new addition has a ground-floor entrance and an elevator access to the old library building. Breckenridge said an additional $50,000 for furnishings was donated by the Friends of the Stockton Library. The original library was built around the turn of the century, Breckenridge said. The color and style of the bricks used to build the addition match the exterior of the old, 1,400-square-foot library. Because the old part of the library has a tile roof, builders bought an old school building with a tile roof, removed the tile, and used it for the addition, she said. Pillars also were matched to the pillars on the old section, she said. The old library was made possible by a grant from American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who gave $5,000 grants to many towns around the country to build libraries, Breckenridge said. "I think when they made that in that day, they will go. I think it will go." The cooperative is trying to locate alternative funds that farmers can borrow to make the acreage com- mittment, Pratt said. Roberson, who has pledged 500 acres to the cooperative, said it would be more attractive if the cooperative would deduct $2 to $3 a ton from the farmer's crop at harvest, rather than ask them to pay the $100 up front. Max Harper of Yuma, chairman of the newly organized Mountain States Beet Growers Cooperative Inc., said the cooperative would start offering contracts to farmers on Monday. Pratt said the new contract will give farmers $36 per ton for beets with 16 percent sugar content. Great Western, which was owned by the billionaire Hunt family of Texas, filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on more than $7 million of payments due to farmers for the 1984 crop. The relationship between the Hunts and sugar beet growers has been rocky for several years. If the sale goes through, Pratt said the cooperative will operate the Goodland plant for one year even if enough acres haven't been committed in the area. "Beyond that, we'll just have to wait and see," he said. In the meantime, April's warm weather signals planting time for sugar beets. The farmers, who say sugar beets are one of the few crops on which they can make money, are getting antsy. "Out here, they're starting to get anxious to get everything worked out," said Dan Mangus, Kanorado, president of the growers association for the Goodland plant. "They're starting to wonder when they can get out and start planting. Time is very important." did as good of a job as they did with ours," she said of the old library. She particularly loves the woodwork in the old library, she said. Breckenridge said the old part of the library is now known as the Carnegie Room and is used for children's story hour and other library programs. The addition is known as the Walker Addition and is used for general library purposes, she said. The architect of the new addition was Ralph Keller, Hill City. The building contractor was Frank Construction, Salina. "We think for a small town, we have a real nice library," Breckenridge said. However, if the addition was to be built today, it probably would not be funded by the Walkers, Marvel Walker said. That's because there's been a drop in production from the 25 wells on their land and an $8 drop in the price of a barrel of oil. "It is a good thing at that time that we gave it," she said. "I don't know how we would feel about giving that much money now to a building in Stockton." the Walkers have donated to other causes throughout the years but said that it won't be possible to give as much in the future. "The lower we get, the less we can do. The oil price is lower, the production is lower and now the good old days are passing us by," she said. But nonetheless, Marvel is thankful that the money was made possible at that time. "I believe these little children will really enjoy the place," she said of the library. Commission to consider Central Mall final plat Salina city commissioners Monday will consider the final plat for the proposed Central Mall regional shopping center, to be located northeast of South Ninth and Magnolia. The Salina Planning Commission voted unanimously March 19 to recommend approval of the plat, contingent on vacating Century Plaza Drive next to the mall property and other requirements. Commissioners are scheduled to take separate action on the street vacation. The street splits the mall property with that owned by the National Bank of America. If the commission gives final approval to the vacation, mall owner Ed Warmack and NBA would share in the street's maintenance. Construction on the mall is expected to begin around April 15. Commissioners also will consider designating a 74-year-old house at 630 E. Iron a local historic landmark. The Salina Heritage Commission recommended that the home be designated a Heritage Conservation landmark at the request of the current residents, Albert J. and Mary Anne Schwartz. The home is owned by John H. Schwartz, Anchorage, Alaska. The residence has been in the Schwartz family since 1911, when it was built for Charles L. Schwartz, a Salina civic and business leader. If the commissioners approve the recommendation, the home would be the third structure in the city to receive the Heritage Conservation designation. The others are the Campbell home on the northeast corner of Santa Fe and Crawford and the Missouri Pacific Railroad depot on North Santa Fe. In other action, commissioners are scheduled to: • Authorize $142,381.50 in street and sewer improvements on Seitz Drive, Pheasant Lane and Georgetown Road. The cost will be assessed against the benefit district. • Consider a request from Lawton Owen, 1946 Roberts, to keep a hive of bees!