Medicaid users at risk as Stephenson County considers sale of Freeport nursing home

Local News

FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — The Walnut Acres nursing home in Freeport could soon be under new management, and some board members fear the change will put Medicaid users out on the street.

Walnut Acres, 2946 S Walnut Road, which is run by Stephenson County, has been serving the community for over 100 years.

But now it’s for sale.

“This is what we should care the most about, is making sure people are cared for locally and in our community, where we can have a say and make sure it’s done properly,” said Jody Coss, a community organizer for the group Save Walnut Acres.

She hopes the County continues to run the nursing home, not sell it.

“If we can’t take care of our own people, if we can’t provide the care that they need at a time when they’re struggling, what are we here for?” she asked.

On Thursday, the County Board is set to vote on an offer from Saba Healthcare Group for $1.6 million.

Board member Casey Anthony says, “What a letter of intent means is that we’ll engage in conversations with the particular entity that is looking at purchasing Walnut Acres. It does not mean that a sale will happen. This is just the first step.”

Anthony says she believes selling the facility would impact the most vulnerable people in the Freeport community.

“Those community members who only have Medicaid as their only source of insurance would have to, most likely, go to outside of our local area, which would be a travesty,” she said.

Coss says community members need to voice their concerns over the plan.

“The most important thing you can do is, you can talk to your County Board member and you can call them and tell them the facts, that you want this county home saved,” Coss said.

Anthony says other board members are planning to approve the letter of intent.

The building was originally put up for sale for a price of $5 million.

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