Tomah Nursing & Rehab not going anywhere
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Tomah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a 74-bed skilled nursing home on Butts Avenue, isn't in danger of closing.
That's according to Mike Wenzel, the nursing home's new administrator who was brought onboard to turn the facility around.
"We are absolutely not closing," he said. "You don't hire me to come in and close a building. You hire me to come in and improve a building. That's what I do."
During discussions over the Rolling Hills Nursing Home, Tomah Hospital Administrator Phil Stuart had mentioned that Tomah was in danger of not having a nursing home, implying the Tomah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was in dire financial straits.
Stuart had even requested the county consider setting up a 25-bed nursing facility in the current Tomah Memorial Hospital after it is vacated in October.
According to Wenzel, a lot of the confusion over the Tomah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center stems from the fact that its owner, Atrium, shares the same name with a nursing home company that owns a facility in Black River Falls, which is presently in receivership, meaning its debtors have foreclosed on it.
"Tomah is in no way affiliated with them," said Wenzel.
The Atrium that owns the Tomah facility is a for-profit company based in Columbus, Ohio and has nursing homes all over the country, including three in Wisconsin. The other two are in Prescott and Frederick.
The Tomah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has been at the Butts Avenue location since 1974. Wenzel admits the nursing home is in need of some improvement and said the facility has been at a lower occupancy by design while those improvements are being initiated.
"So we can provide the highest quality care possible," he said. "We have plenty of referrals. We have everything we need in the building. It's just a matter of getting all the ducks in a row."
One of Wenzel's priorities is to bring the nursing home back into the community fold. He said it has lost its connection with the city and he plans on engaging in sponsorship activates to support the city.
He also says he plans on being the administrator for the long term.
"The company has committed one-hundred percent to the building in terms of resources and funding and tools," he said. "There is zero chance we're closing."