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Agnesian HealthCare And Christian Home Sign Letter Of Intent

It’s been a partnership four years in the making, and thanks to many successes, mutual respect, and shared mission and values, the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. and Agnesian HealthCare are taking these efforts to the next level.

Both organizations have announced they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to evaluate the completion of a  formal affiliation between the Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center, Christian Living Center and Christian Homestead, and Agnesian Healthcare. Signing a non-binding letter of intent will enable the Christian Home Board of Directors and Agnesian HealthCare to evaluate and work toward transferring the facilities over to Agnesian HealthCare. 

The focus of such an affiliation will be to ensure that Waupun and surrounding communities have access to quality nursing home and rehabilitation services, enhance the collaboration with Waupun Memorial Hospital and determine improved facility development needs in the future. 

In March 2012, the Christian Home and Agnesian HealthCare started a management and services agreement to  aid the Christian Home Board of Directors with carrying out the mission of the organization.

Under the agreement Agnesian HealthCare – utilizing expertise from its St. Francis Home skilled nursing and rehabilitation services – assumed day-to-day management of the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center.

            “Our partnership with Agnesian HealthCare has brought forward the resources we need to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of these important services within the Waupun community,” according to Susan Buwalda, the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center Board of Directors chairperson. “Yet, we know there is much more that we want to accomplish to expand our offerings to residents and their families, and Agnesian HealthCare has the broader expertise to help us achieve this mission.”

It was in 1940 that representatives from the Reformed and Christian Reformed churches gathered to examine how to provide care for the elderly in the Waupun community. Their vision became a reality in 1954, and since that time, its staff has faithfully served to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of residents.

The Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center has been providing long-term care, rehabilitation services, memory care, and assisted living apartments to individuals and families.

“Both the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center and Agnesian HealthCare have a long history of providing quality care to individuals and families in the Waupun area,” according to Steve Little, Agnesian HealthCare president and chief executive officer. “This next step provides both organizations the opportunity to collaborate even more closely as faith-based ministries, and to strengthen the services we offer to older adults and their families.”

It will also help the Christian Home and Rehabilitation Center to effectively evaluate existing facilities needs that will ensure its future viability. A capital campaign has been underway to raise $3 million to build a new 50-bed skilled care facility and modern, state-of-the-art rehabilitation center on a 10-acre site near the Christian Homestead facility on West Brown Street. The anticipated cost for the project is $13 million.

            However, despite aggressive efforts, the campaign is falling short of that goal, raising $1 million to date. Fund-raising efforts will continue and the Christian Home Board of Directors is still counting on the community to provide for the needs of Waupun’s elderly.           

“We truly appreciate how much the community has supported our organization, but at the same time, we recognize we cannot do this on our own,” Buwalda says. “That’s where we hope that by reaching out to Agnesian HealthCare that we can sustain our organization for generations to come. That’s all part of what we will be exploring during the upcoming months.”

            In addition, challenges continue with managing an outdated facility which requires continuous repairs, rising health insurance costs, labor costs associated with staff recruitment and retention, technology needs, as well as the growing complexities of running a business.

Looking to a more definitive partnership with Agnesian HealthCare will also help this small freestanding care facility flourish in a highly-competitive environment where long-term care needs will only continue to grow.

“Breaking advances in medicine have extended life expectancy significantly over the last generation,” according to Buwalda. “At the same time, the methods and quality of care for our residents has also become more diverse and of higher quality.

“Over the past decade, the board of the Christian Home has strengthened our operation and today we are looking toward the future,” Buwalda adds. “It’s now our turn to step up like the founders did to maintain the heritage of meeting the needs of our residents and as an asset to our community.”

            A strategic partnership between both two organizations is a positive move for both, according to Little. “The mission, values and visions of both of our ministries are very complementary. This potential partnership will reinforce our commitment to not-for-profit healthcare, and allow us to expand our services and expertise across this rural area.”