Glen Rose Nursing Home is expected to be under new management Jan. 1.

On Tuesday, Somervell County commissioners unanimously supported plans put into motion by the Somervell County Hospital Authority to sublease the facility to a nursing home management company. 

Currently the facility is operated by Glen Rose Medical Center and overseen by the authority. Ray Reynolds, CEO of the medical center, told the court that discussions regarding the nursing home started months ago, and the decision to move forward was "primarily a financial decision."

Last year, nursing home losses added up to about $566,000, he said.

"We started looking at ways to minimize the hospital authority's losses and require less support of the county," Reynolds said. 

Two professionals with years of longterm care experience, Rick Villa, administrator at Cherokee Rose Nursing and Rehabilitation, and his current supervisor, Tolar resident Brian Thomas, who oversees 10 facilities operated by Cherokee's parent company, Creative Solutions, have plans to take over Glen Rose Nursing and Rehabilitation under their own management company - TGR Healthcare.

"What is roughly a $600,000 loss swings right around if we are no longer responsible, plus the lease payment can make a huge difference," County Judge Mike Ford said. "One of the things we don't want to do is lose a nursing home. This solution guarantees the beds will continue to be filled here."

Reynolds explained the contract would be for a 10-year period with a five-year renewal option and the authority would be paid $26,000 per month for the use of the facility, equipment and the new management would be responsible for payroll and operating expenses.

Commissioner John Curtis asked how new management would impact the hospital.

"There are no absolute guarantees, but they are interested in maintaining a relationship with the hospital," Reynolds said.

If the contract is approved, Reynolds said employees, which he estimated at less than 200 full and part-time, would become those of the new entity on Jan. 1, and the hospital authority would pay out any benefits or paid time off owed to them.

Reynolds also said under the new management, employee benefits would be "significantly different."

Currently, nursing home employees get the same benefit options as the hospital's employees and many will see a decrease in coverage following the transfer.

Reynolds said the proposed changes have been met with mixed emotions.

"It (the reaction) is varied," Reynolds said. "Many are not happy about the (decrease in) benefits, but Rick and Brian intend to maintain their employment, and they are happy they will be employed after January 1."

He also said the new benefit structure would be comparable to those offered by Cherokee Rose and other area nursing homes.  

The hospital authority board is expected to consider approval of the contract Friday.

Ford said he viewed the proposal as a positive direction.

"As I have watched progress of Cherokee Rose under Rick's leadership, I have been impressed," Ford said. "Patients and staff seem to be very happy. I know Rick would not take all of the credit, but ultimately the decisions executives make drive a business that direction."