Alliance Torpedoes Alzheimers Proposal

June 5, 2002
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DOUGLAS — Concerns over the physical layout and programs planned for an Alzheimer’s unit proposed at the Harbors Health Facility contributed to a health care-planning agency’s vote against the proposal.

Nan Max Health Management Inc’s. application for a state Certificate of Need (CON) did not include enough data to show that the facility is conducive to housing Alzheimer’s disease patients, Alliance for Health President Lody Zwarensteyn said.

The Alliance for Health’s CON Evaluation Board this month vote against endorsing Nan Max’s application to the Michigan Department of Community Health. The Alliance works to evaluate CON application to the state and recommends approval or denial.

“There didn’t seem to be much that commends itself to Alzheimer’s care,” Zwarensteyn said. “An explanation of their physical and programming for Alzheimer’s did not come through in their application.”

Nan Max, which acquired Harbors Health Facility in January, wants to convert 20 unused beds for the aged at the Douglas facility into a 16-bed Alzheimer’s wing.

The company plans to revise its application to address the Alliance’s concerns and resubmit it in June, Harbors Health Administrator Tim Crider said. He’s confident the revised application will meet with approval.

“I think our unit has a lot to offer the community,” Crider said. “We’ll be very comfortable that we will achieve that and be granted a certificate of need.”

Also working against Nan Max is that all available licenses for nursing home beds in Allegan County are taken. State legislators are considering a proposal from the Department of Community Health to raise by 100 the limit of beds that can be licensed for Alzheimer’s demonstration projects.

But even with the higher limit, “We still would have grave concerns” with the present Nan Max proposal, Zwarensteyn said.

“I can’t really see any reason to put our name behind it,” he said.

The Alliance for Health’s CON Evaluation Board, in voting against the proposal, urged Nan Max to resubmit its proposal once the standards for Alzheimer’s beds change, as well as to use the additional time to better define its program for caring for Alzheimer’s patients and to revise the project to provide “appropriate space and surroundings.”

Nan Max sought approval for an Alzheimer’s unit at Harbors Health to address what it sees as a growing demand in the area for beds dedicated to Alzheimer’s patients. The facility now has to turn away people seeking living arrangements for Alzheimer’s patients, Crider said.

“I have inquiries everyday,” he said.

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