Skilled-nurse home service to be cut

Local health department adjusts to the tight economy

The San Juan Basin Health Department will no longer provide skilled-nurse home calls as of Oct. 30.

Eleven employees – seven nurses, three certified nurse assistants and an administrator – will be affected by the change.

“We greatly appreciate the committed work and deep care our home health staff members and nurses have for their clients,” health department director Joe Theine said in a statement.

The department is one of the last public-health agencies in the state to offer skilled nursing care in the home, agency spokeswoman Jane Looney said.

The in-home service started in 1964, Looney said.

“There are four agencies in the community to provide skilled home health services,” Looney said. “There are three private agencies and Mercy Home Health (Centura Health Systems).”

Other in-home services will continue, Looney said. The health department’s Home and Community Based Services will help clients with options for long-term nursing care at home.

Discontinuance of skilled in-home nursing is one of several measures the health department has taken in light of a tight economy.

Prenatal services also were discontinued.

The health department’s operating budget this year is about 22 percent less than last year. In proposing his budget last year, Theine said it reflects conservative and realistic estimates of revenue and expenditures.

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