Article by Calvin Bratt – originally posted in The Lynden Tribune, October 2014

Christian Health Care Center of Lynden will help fill the gap in adult day health that arises when a PeaceHealth St. Joseph program closes at the end of 2014.

By the summer of 2015 CHCC hopes to have its own new adult day health facility built just west of the main nursing-care center on Aaron Drive in Lynden.

The fill-in role is announced in a letter, released Monday, of PeaceHealth St. Joseph chief administrative officer Dale Zender to client families of the current Adult Day Health program.

The program that serves about 78 from around the county will remain open at its current location on the St. Joseph South Campus, which is overall in a process of being shut down.

“We are pleased to announce that there will be no gap in service for existing Adult Day Health clients,” Zender wrote.

PeaceHealth will lease the South Campus space to CHCC for a nominal amount — “essentially donating the use of the space” — and Adult Day Health caregivers will be offered employment by the Lynden-based nonprofit, Zender said in his letter. Also, PeaceHealth has agreed to provide ongoing program assistance and operational support, such as food, security and janitorial services, in the interim period.

“I sincerely apologize for the stress and anxiety that the original decision may have caused, and I applaud Christian Health Care Center for its leadership and willingness to collaborate on a solution to bridge the gap in service and location,” Zender said.

He reiterated that PeaceHealth decided to end the service because acute care provided by a hospital represents “the most costly provider option due to our inherently high operating costs. Organizations like CHCC can provide similar services at a significantly lower cost.

“This transition is part of our ongoing effort to adapt to the changing health care environment by reducing costs while maintaining or improving quality of care. Consolidating operations onto our Main Campus is part of our ongoing efforts. So is collaborating with trusted community providers to assume operations of those services they are better positioned to provide.”

The CHCC 5,400-square-foot new building is expected to serve about 60, said executive director Anita Tallman.

Adult Day Health, as a concept, offers a level of care to frail, physically or cognitively impaired seniors permitting them to stay at home versus placement in a nursing home. ADH provides home caregivers support and a needed break to rest or attend to their own personal needs, Tallman said.