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Sunnycrest Board to Consider Consulting Group's Suggestions

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DUBUQUE, Iowa - The findings of a new report have some Dubuque County employees worrying they'll lose their jobs. This comes after the Dubuque County Supervisors say there's a financial emergency at Sunnycrest Manor. The county-run, long-term care facility is looking for ways to trim the $10.6 million annual budget.

In January, The Dubuque County Supervisors hired Health Dimensions Group for $170,000 to advise them on what cuts to make. Two days later, then administrator, Cathy Hedley resigned.

The magnificent view from Sunnycrest Manor, could serve as a reflection of the excellent care employees say they give the residents who live at Sunnycrest Manor. But according to Health Dimensions Group, that care comes at a cost.

The group's report found Sunnycrest's laundry and housekeeping expenses were significantly higher than similar facilities in the mid-west.

The group suggests Sunnycrest could save money by hiring an outside agency instead of paying their own employees to do that work. But some employees worry that may not be what's best for the more than 100 people who live at Sunnycrest.

Sunnycrest Employee Jackie Bamberg, C.N.A. said, "If you out-source it, , there's nobody there to let them go get a cup of soup when they want it because they have strict hours and I don't think they are going to be as personable. "

On Wednesday, members of a newly created Sunnycrest Operations Board got a first look at the group's report.

Out-sourcing some staff is just one of the consulting group's suggestions.
Additional considerations include: Consider new revenue streams and potential capital improvements needed to allow said revenue stream. Consider privatization or partnership of services. Consider alternatives for operation of facility.

The board plans to discuss all of the considerations with the consulting firm at their next meeting on May 7th.

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