Canyonlands Care Center will end its current fiscal year on solid financial ground, thanks to a one-time infusion of federal Medicaid money, as well as mineral lease revenues from energy development in Grand County.

The 36-bed long-term care facility has been operating at a small profit ever since April 2014, when the Medicaid program retroactively awarded it a lump-sum payment for 2013, according to Canyonlands Care Center Business Manager Tom Lacy.

At the same time, mineral lease payments to the governing Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District have continued to rise, despite the worldwide oil glut. Just last week, for instance, the district’s board amended its 2014 budget to add another $444,000 in unexpected revenues.

Lacy’s most recent projections show that the once-struggling care center posted a profit of about $8,000 in November, along with another $10,000 in potential revenues from other sources.

Although November has already come and gone, Lacy is still working on a year-to-date budget comparison that highlights the differences between the 2013 and 2014 years, so the final numbers were not available as of press time.

“That’s as close as we can get at this point,” he said.

However, he noted that the overall trends from the past year have been positive.

During that time, the special service district’s enterprise fund, which pays for care center operations, has grown to more than $500,000.

“That’s a huge, huge change from the way it used to be,” he said.

The district’s board has also set aside an estimated $740,000 worth of payments on its two construction bonds, according to Lacy.

“We are getting to a more level state here,” he said.

“Upper Payment Limit” funding from Medicaid helped the care center get to that point.

In early 2013, the Medicaid program paid out around $7,000 a month; those payments later jumped inexplicably to about $72,000 a month, according to Lacy.

“They never gave us an answer for the huge disparity,” he said.

For the first 11 months of 2014, the special service district received more than $620,400 in gross Upper Payment Limit funding.

“It has leveled out, and we expect to continue at that rate,” Lacy said.

The future of mineral lease revenues is another matter entirely.

Ken Ballantyne, who serves as the Grand County Council’s liaison to the special service district’s board, said the board needs to be prepared for the possibility of a nosedive in funding from that source.

“We’ve got to keep an eye on it,” Ballantyne said during the board’s Dec. 18 meeting.

CHCSSD Board chairman Doug Fix said that mineral lease funding allocations are based on an 18-month lag, so he doesn’t anticipate that any changes will have a dramatic effect until some time in 2016.

“It’s certainly not going to impact us this year,” Fix said.

In the meantime, Fix and others are still trying to finalize the wording of a proposed agreement that would enable Moab Regional Hospital’s governing board to take over the management of the care center.

As those discussions continue, Fix thanked the hospital for its role in recruiting new Canyonlands Care Center Administrator Barbara Grossman.

“It has been a good start to the whole cooperative effort between the two organizations,” Fix said.

CHCSSD Board member Jeanette Kopell said she’s seen a marked improvement at the care center in recent weeks.

“The attitude at the facility has been so much better, you guys,” she said.

Medicaid funding, mineral lease revenues boost budget

“We are getting to a more level state here.”