In 1963, the Sanilac County Board of Supervisors appointed a Building Committee to work on establishing a County Medical Care Facility. The committee consisted of Stephan Welch, Russell Wilson, Matthias Bezemek, Harvey Maedel and Willard Parkes. The committee obtained an architect to draw up plans, worked on funding sources and the Board of Supervisors approved the project. The 1967 Building Committee that supervised the building project was Russell Wilson, Harvey Maedel, Roy Dennis, Clarke Sproul and Byron See. Ground breaking took place in 1967 and dedication of the new 60-bed nursing home took place July 28, 1968. Cost of the original building was $995,000.00. Funds came from the sale of the county poor farm and personal property of $38,000.00, ½ mill tax levy for 5 years for approximately $250,000.00 and a Hill-Burton Federal Grant of $551,000.00. The county paid for the balance.
In 1978, there was a 24-bed addition for the facility for a cost of $609,000.00. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars was received from revenue sharing and the remainder from facility operations. In 1984, the cafeteria and Mental Health wing was added. Cost of the cafeteria was $84,000.00. The facility received a loan from the county for $34,000.00 and the balance came from facility operations. The loan was repaid to the county.
In 1996, there was a 20-bed addition to the facility for dementia residents. The County approved a bond issue of $1,350,000.00 and the balance came from facility operations. Cost of the project was $4,525,000.00 and increased the total beds of the facility to 104. The facility pays the interest and bond payments from operations each year.
The facility is operated under the State of Michigan Social Welfare Act, therefore is governed by the Sanilac County Department of Human Services Board. There are three DHS Board members, two appointed by the Sanilac County Board of Commissioners and one by the State Governor. Being the Social Welfare Act of Michigan, created the facility by law, Medicaid eligible residents of the County have first priority for admission to the facility. Between 80% and 85% of the facility’s residents are eligible for Medicaid benefits.
In 1980, the concept of Maintenance of Effort (MOE) by local government was introduced by State Legislature to become part of the Social Welfare Act. Sanilac County pays the State Medicaid program $6.09 per bed day for every resident in the facility that receives Medicaid as their obligation of providing care to the Medicaid population of Sanilac County. The MOE Costs the County about $190,000.00 per year and in 1999, a 2/10 millage issue was approved by the voters of Sanilac County to pay this obligation to the State. The millage was renewed in 2004 for 6 years.
The facility averages about 150 new admissions per year. The facility has excellent rehabilitation programs and about 75% of the admissions are discharged back to their home. The facility employs about 150 employees with an annual payroll of about 4,200,000.00. The total operating budget for the facility is about 9,000,000.00. The facility is self-sustaining with the exception of the 2/10’s of a mill millage that is used for the MOE and the excess for the operations of the facility. The facility pays the county for the services they provide to the facility.
Sanilac Medical Care Facility is a great asset to Sanilac County. It provides jobs for 150 employees with competitive wages and good fringe benefits and it brings in $7,750,000.00 to be spent in the local communities. The State of Michigan requires that nursing homes provide 2.25 hours of nursing care per day to a resident in a nursing home and SMCF provides an average of 4.68 each resident per day, far exceeding the requirement. The facility accepts residents that are Medicare, Medicaid, Insurance Recipients, Private Pay and Veterans. The facility is local employees serving local residents 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, no matter if it is a weekend, holiday, snowing and blowing, or any other condition, the residents will be provided their needed care.