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Stephenson County Board approves offer on Walnut Acres nursing home

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:30 PM CDT
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) - Despite pleas against it, Stephenson County approves a $2 million offer for the Walnut Acres nursing home in a 13-8 vote.

This comes as dozens appeared at the Stephenson County Board meeting in May to speak against the decision to allow the nursing home to be sold. Family members worry their loved ones would love their reliant caregivers and may need to be moved to a different facility which could be fatal for some.

Danielle Web is a CNA at Walnut Acres nursing home, she worries that now with a private owner, some residents won’t be able to afford it. Web says, “Honestly I don’t like the idea of it. I don’t know what’s going to happen to our patients. A lot of them might be asked to leave, especially the Medicaid patients.”

Web also worries that with a private owner, she could possibly lose her job, too. “We could see a decrease in pay. We could end up with no health benefits,” Web says.

Chairperson for the nursing home committee, Casey Anthony says a man named Josh Davis is the potential buyer. While they don’t know a lot about him, Anthony believes he has a history of operating nursing homes. “There are still people on the board including myself that want to maintain the nursing center as it is and look at ways to keep it sustainable, which might mean some changes in how things operate,” Anthony says.

He believes current jobs will be safe. Anthony says, “Getting rid of staff would kind of be unreasonable.”

While the deal isn’t final, Anthony says in the coming weeks, the board will discuss ensuring residents won’t have to move homes. “We did talk about if certain stipulations could be put in place like that. Keeping current residents who are already there,” Anthony says.

Negotiations will be made in the next phase, which is the purchase agreement. Once the purchase agreement is approved, Josh Davis will assume ownership of the facility.

Stephenson County Chairperson William Hadley tells 23 News the board will need a 15-7 vote for the purchase agreement to pass.

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