JCHC CEO Explains Concern With Skilled Nursing Facility in Buffalo

JCHC CEO/Administrator Nicole Hobbs
JCHC CEO/Administrator Nicole Hobbs

The State of Wyoming is currently determining where they will build a veterans skilled nursing facility and has narrowed the possibilities to Casper, Sheridan, and Buffalo.

Many in Johnson County have expressed their support for locating the facility in Buffalo, but Johnson County Healthcare Center CEO Nicole Hobbs and other healthcare professionals have voiced concerns that locating the facility here will negatively impact their facility.

Hobbs, in a recent interview, explained that there is a need for the facility in the state, but said the opposition is with available workforce and Buffalo's small CNA population.
In the original feasibility study on the facility, twelve different locations were looked at, and Buffalo was second to last for having the needed CNA workforce available, with Casper having the largest available CNA population in the state.

She explained that the VA model for the facility is three 12-bed cottages (36 total beds) built in a greenhouse-style, home-care concept.

They will be employing staff that is different than traditional facilities like the Amie Holt Care Center.

Staffing problems are already an issue at the facility, and Hobbs believes the issue will only get worse if the new facility is built in Buffalo, with some very real possible consequences for the community.

Hobbs said the plan is to have the facility built and functional within 3 to 5 years.
The decision on the location is expected to be made by the Joint Highway, Transportation and Military Affairs Committee in December, which they will write into the bill passed to the Legislature at their coming general session in January.

Hobbs said the reason the new Amie Holt Care Center was built two years ago was to ensure there would be long-term care for residents of Johnson County, but the possibility exists that this proposed new facility could jeopardize some or all of the beds in the care center.
“This is a sensitive subject and we do want to care for our veterans in our community, we just want to see that it's done in the right way.”


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