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Nursing home opens in Conejos County

Posted: Monday, Apr 5th, 2010

Photo by Stan Moyer U.S. Representative and Conejos County resident John Salazar, left, attends the grand opening ceremony of the new long-term care facility in Conejos County. Dick Loucks is at right.

Salazar on hand for event


LA JARA — “Today’s great day for the San Luis Valley,” U.S. Rep. John Salazar said at the Saturday celebration for the opening of the new 60-bed nursing home south of La Jara, northwest of the Conejos County Hospital.

He spoke after Joyce Humiston and Dick Loucks of C & G Healthcare, Mancos, Colorado, had reported what Salazar confirmed, that the facility will provide 60 fulltime, high-paying jobs in the near future, and has already provided employment to local construction contractors almost exclusively, in an 18-month period now coming to fruition.

Moments later Salazar joked, “Mary Lou [his wife] has already chosen a room for me.”

Officials from both Conejos and Costilla counties spoke briefly at the event.

Both governments cooperated in bringing the nursing home into existence, after the nursing home operated by the Conejos County Hospital closed.

During May 2008, Salazar presented a “Joe Warner Patient Advocacy Award” to Humiston for excellence in long-term health care, a recognition only three people receive each year in the United States of America. Around the time of the presentation, Humiston related to Salazar the intense need in the SLV, especially the eastern and southern parts of the area, of the need for a nursing and rehabilitation facility.

Salazar subsequently helped get backing for a new care home.

Also present at the Saturday grand opening was San Luis Valley Federal Savings & Loan Chief Executive Officer Duane Bussey, a depositor-owned entity providing financing for construction of the nursing home.

The facility is to be known as the Rio Grande Inn.

Officials of the management firm have made clear that a variety of purposes will be served. If necessary, a permanent residency for clients will be provided, but rehabilitation with the goal of a relatively short-term stay is also a function.

Presently, authorization for 37 Medicaid patients has been obtained, with a goal of receiving a larger number in the future.

The final inspection by the Colorado Department of Public Health is expected to occur between Tuesday, April 13 and Friday, April 16. After that time, clients are to take residency and be admitted for care.

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