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Selby area community fights to keep care facility open

Members of the Selby area community gathered at the Selby Area High School Gym on Tuesday, Sept. 18, to discuss the fate of the Good Samaritan Center in that community.
The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society in June reported it would be joining Sanford Health of Sioux Falls.
It was later announced that the senior care facility in Selby would be closing its doors.
On Tuesday, the community came together to help save their care facility.
The meeting, led by Glenham resident and District 23 Representative Spencer Gosch, was an informational meeting. Gosch and Phil Samuelson, representing Good Samaritan, answered questions about the closure and the moves being made to create a nonprofit, tax exempt group to keep the center operating in Selby.
Gosch told the crowd that a committee had been formed that was working with a local attorney to apply for nonprofit and tax exemption status in order to move forward with the plan.
Gosch spoke about how the committee had formed when the Society decided to close the Selby facility, in an effort to find a way to continue services in the community. He said the preliminary plans are in the works, including having had contact with a company in Nebraska that specializes in aiding this type of transition.
For a fee, the company will come in and help with the day-to-day operations and administration until a new administrator is in place. The nonprofit group would then take over the facility.
Samuels said he believed the Society would donate the facility to a nonprofit in order to help keep the services in Selby. He stressed it was a good facility with a good staff but the Society just could not keep it going.
“The reality is that it is a struggle to make these facilities profitable,” he said. “The nonprofit may not have that problem.”
He explained why the Society made the decision to close the Selby center, citing the lack of affordable labor, the expense of staffing, Medicaid reimbursement rates in South Dakota and long-term care resources.
Gosch stressed that the group would need to think outside of the box and possibly reach out to the administrations of the Mobridge and Bowdle facilities for assistance. He said they are research several other ideas and have reached out for advice from the group in Esteline that runs their local facility.
Gosch said the biggest roadblock to these plans is financial. The group agreed they needed to raise $500,000 in donations to get started. The facility would be run by an administrator and a board of directors.
Gosch said the facility needs to be financially sound to succeed.
A member of the community asked about the $500,000 debt The Society incurred at the Selby center and who would be responsible for that.
Samuels said it is The Society’s debt and they would be responsible to pay it. He said they want this facility to continue to provide services to Selby and that they are willing to help make it so.
Another resident voiced concern for the staff and the residents. What would happen to them if the facility is forced to close.
Gosch stressed that the staff of the facility are a top priority of the committee.
“You are the ones who know these residents, who care for these residents, who love these individuals,” he told the staff. “You are a the heart and soul of this transition. We need you guys.”
Gosch said as soon as the non-profit is established and the tax exempt status is granted, donations to reach the $500,000 will needed. He said an account would be set up at Bank West but until that time pledges could be made through any member of the committee
Gosch told the group there would be follow up meetings to keep the community abreast of the progress made in the establishment of the non-profit.
– Katie Zerr –