To the Editor,

In light of recent city council meetings, I would like to take the time to provide the public with information regarding Willow Creek and share, what I feel, is holding it back from becoming one of Henning’s greatest assets. 

Though I grew up in Henning, I am an unfamiliar name to many of you so I understand you may be hesitant to take my word for it. If you find yourself uncertain of the information I am sharing, I encourage you to attend our monthly Willow Creek Commission meetings held the last Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. If you would like to be added to the meeting invite list, please contact me at:

Assisted living facilities like Willow Creek make the largest profit from tenants that require services such as dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting assistance, medication set up and administration and other personal cares. While some people pay for these services from personal savings or family funds (private pay), many are paid for by waivered services, in our case by the Elderly Waiver (Medicaid). Private pay tenants typically move into waivered service coverage once their personal finances are exhausted. 

Due to the level of services, having a skilled nursing staff (RN or LPN) is a requirement. Currently, Willow Creek has seven open assisted living units and three open independent units. Independent rooms have the potential to be charged for services if those tenants “age in place” and require services later on.

Previously the city council had a cap which limited Willow Creek on how many Elderly Waivered (Medicaid) tenants were allowed. That cap was dissolved by the council at the January 5, 2021 meeting after a recommendation from the Willow Creek Commission. 

As of November 2020, Willow Creek had seven tenants receiving services under the Elderly Waiver. The average per day total is estimated at $600 for services alone (not including rent). At that time Willow Creek also had six Private Pay assisted living tenants that averaged a total of $175 per day for services alone (not including rent). Additionally, there were six Independent tenants (rent/garage/meal plan only). Please note these services are fluid and vary depending upon each person’s needs. 

The Willow Creek Commission has recommended to the council to allow a part-time LPN to be hired to not only support WC Director, Lisa Augustus, with the current workload but also so that Willow Creek can continue to fill the seven open assisted living rooms currently available. The Willow Creek Commission submitted letters on November 25, 2020 and again on February 25, 2021, with recommendation to hire a part-time LPN. No motion was made on the matter by the city council at their December 1, 2021 or March 1, 2021 city council meetings. 

There is a potential for the seven available units to be filled by tenants who would require services, but to do so Willow Creek would need another skilled nursing staff member (the LPN requested). Please note there are three open units for independent living that will potentially produce even more revenue but are not included in the calculations below.

Below is an estimated financial breakdown:

• Services: Average of combined Elderly Waivered and Private Pay (based on Nov 2020 tenant roster) $387/day =$141,255/year

• Rent: Average combined of Elderly Waivered and Private Pay (based on Nov 2020 tenant roster) $12,468/mo =$149,616/year

• PT LPN for increased skilled nursing workload (16hrs/week $20/hr) = estimated $20,000/year expense

• 2 PT Universal Workers for increased workload ($13.00/hr) = estimated $30,000/year expense

• Additional supplies, trainings, other expenses = estimated $20,000/year expense

• Contingency fund (considering prior year’s deficit) = estimated $20,000/year expense

• Estimated $90,000 principal bond payment not included on expenditure worksheet.

=$110,871 profit 

The revenue estimated from services and rent is an average between Elderly Waivered (Medicaid) and Private Pay tenants. This is not the best-case scenario; it is very probable. 

This option brings in three new jobs to Henning and eliminates the need to make city staffing cuts, which have been considered to fund current and upcoming city debt. I would like to know why this continues to get dismissed. Now that you have this information, aren’t you curious too? 

Hope ‘Weinhandl’ Sapp 

(Henning Township Resident, Willow Creek Commission Member) 

*This letter is submitted as a personal statement and not on behalf of the Willow Creek Commission