Green River Star -

By David Martin

Mission seeks Villa ownership


Seeking to alleviate losses amounting to $10,000 a month, Mission Health Services seeks to take ownership of The Villa and change its care model.

Last night, the first step towards that move was signed in a lease amendment between Mission Health and Castle Rock Hospital District.

Gary Kelso, president of Mission, said while the company is a nonprofit entity, it has lost $120,000 in the last year in operating The Villa, a longterm-care facility that is part of the Mission at Castle Rock Rehabilitation Center building. Mission Health, based in Utah, took managerial control of the former Castle Rock Convalescent Center in 2014, which helped solve a budgetary crisis for the hospital district.

Kelso said The Villa’s occupancy was at 93.7 percent capacity in 2014, a figure that has dropped to 20 percent, or five residents, currently. Kelso said Mission Health would like to amend its lease agreement with the district and pay approximately $614,000 to cover bond-related debt the district has for The Villa, with the district then donating The Villa property to Mission Health. The current lease agreement only allows Mission Health to operate residential services and boarding at The Villa, with the signed amendment allowing for more possible services. After assuming ownership of the property, Mission Health would then expand services offered through The Villa to generate more revenue. Mission Health is working through a merger with another Utah-based healthcare provider, Community Nursing Services, which would allow the organization to expand hospice care and other services CNS specializes in to The Villa. Kelso admits there has been some discussion at The Villa regarding what could happen, with families unsure of what the future will bring.

“I feel terrible for the families because they’re just sitting there, waiting for the axe to fall,” Kelso said.

The district’s board of trustees voiced their approval with Kelso’s idea. Board member Daniel Stanton believes the deal would be a win for the hospital district, as it would represent savings to the district and get the bond-based debt off of the district.

However, before any type of ownership transfer is completed, a few legal concerns need to be dealt with. George Lemich, the district’s attorney, said issues regarding the original bond debt and the sixth-penny tax need to be solved before a deal can move forward. Lemich said he and Cheyenne-based bonds attorney Barbara Bonds are reviewing the legality of an early lease release under the district’s sixth-penny obligations.

The district was part of a tax option including Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in 2012, which paid for MHSC’s medical office building, as well as purchases and improvements throughout the Castle Rock Hospital District. Those improvements included renovations to The Villa and Mission at Castle Rock Rehabilitation Center.

Lemich said they’ve met delays in researching the sixth-penny bonds as people associated with the improvement project bonds at Wells Fargo and George K. Baum & Company have been replaced.


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