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Parker Oaks cutbacks

By Staff | Aug 30, 2008

Jackie Edwards

After just six months, Parker Oaks Communities, Inc. in Winnebago is going back to having a part-time administrator. At least, for now.

In March, Jackie Edwards assumed full-time duties at the nursing home owned by ElderCare of Minnesota.

She replaced Deb Barnes, who became a regional director for the company’s other facilities in southern Minnesota.

“It’s a change of going back to how it was. We had been working toward this and training somebody,” says Edwards.

The Lake Crystal native worked as an administrator at a Truman nursing home prior to going to Winnebago. She says she’s not returning to that facility, which also is owned by ElderCare.

Jim Birchem, president of ElderCare, says returning to a half-time administrator is a business decision.

He says when an employee leaves management he often looks at restructuring duties instead of hiring a replacement.

“When revenue isn’t going up as fast as expenses, you have to cut costs. Unfortunately, the revenue doesn’t match the amount of expenses,” says Birchem.

ElderCare operates 30 facilities in Minnesota, most of them in the northern part of the state. Ten of the homes are skilled-level operations, while the rest are assisted-living units.

Reducing administrator hours isn’t the first time cuts have been made in the business office. Birchem says one full-time position was eliminated several months ago.

“You have to look at the economics. We do at all our other places,” he says.

Barnes was administrator at Parker Oaks when she was picked for the director’s position. She currently holds a licensure in administration.

Barnes says she expects someone will take over the part-time administrator duties in Truman and she will shift to Winnebago.

“We’re just moving people according to our strategic plan,” she says.

Edwards’ last day on the job was Aug. 29. With degrees in social work and gerontology (the care of the elderly), she says her future plans may include work in the developmentally disabled field.

“This is a great little nursing home. I’ve really enjoyed working here,” says Edwards.

Parker Oaks is a 52-bed facility and also has 27-assisted living apartments.