The "Electric City"
City of Horton
By Darlene Rake
February 28, 2016
If one visits Mission Village Living Center (MVLC) on a Friday forenoon, one might find some of the residents with a supervisor and a volunteer in the kitchen, baking some cookies or combining various cereals for a snack mix. On other days some of the residents might be taking a bus ride to spend some time at the local casino or taking a scenic ride around Mission Lake or the Hiawatha City Lake.
“We’ve recently increased our activities budget,” said Patricia Raasch, the administrator and CEO of the facility. “We try very hard to provide our residents with activities that they can look forward to so that they can enjoy life.”
Every quarter the staff plans something special, such as a Christmas party or a Valentine’s Day party, complete with a resident King and Queen, who are determined by the most coins placed in respective candidates’ jars. Local churches also contribute to the activity schedule by taking turns to provide monthly birthday parties and to host bingo parties, complete with prizes for the winners. In addition, six churches take turns providing worship services in the chapel, usually on Sunday afternoon.
Raasch explained that she and all of her staff members try to make the environment at MVLC more of a home-like atmosphere while providing excellent quality care.
“Our goal is to provide our residents with the highest quality of life that they have left,” Raasch said. “My heart is in this type of work, and I want to make a difference in people’s lives.”
The licensed and certified staff at MVLC includes anywhere from 40 to 50 employees who are either full-time or part-time and whose job descriptions cover a variety of positions. The employment opportunities offer a wide range and include registered nurses, CNAs, LPNs, certified dietary managers, food services, health care, environmental services, laundry and house-keeping services. The facility also offers respite care and adult day-care services and provides the meals for the Meals on Wheels program.
MVLC is governed by a seven-member board, whose members give strategic direction regarding the services that the facility offers.
Raasch noted that one of the challenges that the board and she face is coping with the low reimbursement rates from Medicaid for Medicaid-qualified residents. Another challenge she confronts is drawing from a limited labor pool in a smaller community. However, she is quick to note that she thinks the biggest strength of MVLC is its staff.
“Sometimes we struggle to find people to fill the positions we have available,” said Raasch. “We certainly want to hire the right staff who will meet the needs of the residents.” She gives high praise to her current staff. “As a whole, I think this is the best staff as a unit that I’ve ever had or worked with.”
In trying to attract future employees, she said that the governing board recently approved several changes, including giving all employees raises last December and providing fifty percent of each employee’s health insurance, a benefit that the workers did not have previously. Also, last December a generous anonymous donor provided every employee with a Christmas bonus of fifty dollars.
Raasch said that a huge recent success for the business has been meeting its financial goal of operating “in the black.” Raasch, who has a master’s degree in business administration and a graduate certificate in long-term care management from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, has been very intentional in helping MVLC meet this goal
Pride resonated in her voice as she explained, “I’m so excited that we all have shared in that success!” She gives credit to her staff, the governing board, the Horton Medical Auxiliary, and the MLVC church advisory council for helping to meet that goal.
Raasch has plenty of ideas with regard to future improvements. These include renovating the beauty salon, putting in a whirlpool tub, and purchasing more attractive dishes for serving meals. A huge long-term goal is raising enough funds to put a new roof on the building. Fund-raising efforts thus far have raised approximately one-third of the anticipated cost of a new roof, and Raasch is very pleased when local groups donate money to that cause. Obviously, more funds are needed, and more volunteers also are needed and are always welcome.
Although Raasch has been in the Horton community for not quite two years, she has first-hand knowledge of the efforts of Reinvent Horton. A group of volunteers stained the deck outside of the chapel, and that effort, Raasch noted, “made the exterior look so much more appealing.”
Mission Village Living Center is located at 1810 Euclid Avenue and currently has 40 residents, with seven of those being in assisted living. Raasch can be reached at 486-2697.