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Cass County Medical Care Facility eyes expansion

CASSOPOLIS — When Cass County Medical Care Facility Administrator Christian Lutes looks out at the sprawling acres surrounding his Cassopolis facility, he sees more than just green trees — he sees a new future for nursing care in Cass County.

“Forward-thinking folks are the ones who make changes,” he said. “Look at what’s happened in downtown Cassopolis just because someone had a vision. We need to have that same vision.”

Cass County Medical Care Facility, 23770 Hospital St., Cassopolis, is looking to expand. The facility, which is a government-operated nursing facility, is currently located on more than 200 acres of land in Cass County. Recently, facility administrators completed preliminary studies to determine the feasibility of expansion and how to use that land to expand services and benefit the county as a whole.

“What preliminary studies are showing is that, today, there is a need for over 200 housing options for independent and semi-independent living for seniors,” Lutes said. “We are going to build a community for folks who can get medical treatment, who can live, who have families visit.”

Lutes said the expansion would add independent and semi-independent housing, long term care as well as create space for other entities.

“We want to do something that hasn’t been done before,” Lutes said. “We want people to age in place.”

Right now, plans are still in the very early stages. The total cost of the project, as well as funding, has yet to be determined, though Lutes said it could be paid for through the county, a private entity or a combination of both.

Though there are still many details to work out, Lutes is confident the expansion will benefit area seniors and the community as a whole.

“It’s going to be incredible,” he said. “People will be moving to the farm, which means people will be hiring more folks and bringing people from out of the community and money that will stay within the community.”

County Administrator Jeff Carmen said he supports the Cass County Medical Care Facility’s plans to expand and believes it will benefit Cass County residents.

“We are very excited about the results of the market research study that demonstrate that we have a need in our county for assisted and independent living, memory care and housing, and there is no better place than on the campus of the Medical Care Facility,” he said. “We are excited about it and to see a committee come together and hope to move forward with that relatively quickly.”