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Cass County Medical Care Facility millage headed to ballot

CASSOPOLIS — A new millage proposal is heading the August ballot.

Thursday, the Cass County Board of Commissioners hosted its regularly scheduled meeting. In compliance with continuing “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders in the wake of COVID-19, the meeting was hosted via Zoom video conference.

During the meeting, commissioners voted to approve a millage request by the Cass County Medical Care Facility to be placed on the August ballot. If approved by voters, the .5 mill would levy 50 cents of every $1,000 in state-equalized value of real and personal property in Cass County for five years, starting Dec. 1. The funds raised by the millage, estimated to total $1,165,000 in the first year, would be used to defray the costs of the facility’s operation as well as provide funds for expanding services.

“We would like to upgrade our services and be able to provide more services to our county,” said Cass County Medical Care Facility Administrator Christian Lutes.

The millage request is the first one made by the Cass County Medical Care Facility since 1996. Lutes said the facility initially looked at asking for a one mill millage but decided on a .5 mill millage due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We don’t even know what the world will look like in August,” Lutes said. “We are in difficult times, in the throes of a national emergency, so we decided to cut that in half.”

According to Lutes, the millage is necessary as the facility has been facing financial difficulty since 2016. As service costs have increased, the facility has been running at a deficit of $16 per day.

In addition to providing necessary funding to current services, such as outpatient rehabilitation services, adult daycare, assisted living and independent living services, Lutes said the millage would provide an opportunity for the Cass County Medical Care Facility to expand on its services.

One new service that could be offered is outpatient therapy, which would be available to any county resident regardless of age.

“We have taken a step back and looked, and we see that our services are what really sets us apart,” Lutes said of the Cass County Medical Care Facility, which is currently ranked in the top 10 percent of nursing facilities by the state of Michigan. “We would like to expand on that. … This could allow us to provide the services that we are lacking.”

The millage was approved unanimously by the board of commissioners.

“The benefits to the county could be limitless,” Lutes said of the millage.


County, medical facility partner to establish steering committee

Jan. 14, 2020  Finding the right direction

CASSOPOLIS-  As Cass County enters the new year, county officials are looking at ways to care for one of the largest segments of its population.

The Cass County Board of Commissioners recently voted to establish an elder care steering group with the Cass County Medical Care Facility, a county-run nursing home. The committee, which will be composed of county officials and community members, will work to identify the eldercare needs of the county and work to find solutions to meet those needs.

“This will help identify a direction of how the county should care for its aging population,” said Deputy County Administrator Kerry Collins. “What we are going to be looking at is an overall approach of how we can provide fulfilling golden years of life for our residents.”

To Collins’ knowledge, the eldercare steering committee will be the first of its kind in Cass County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 21 percent of Cass County’s population is over the age of 65, and the number is only set to grow as residents age. Because of the high need for elder care services in the county, Cass County Medical Care Facility Administrator Christian Lutes presented to the board of commissioners, asking for a committee to be created specifically to address elder care and to assess the needs of the county’s senior citizens.

“With the upcoming explosion of the elderly population, the county has determined that we need to take a hard look at how we take care of our community,” Lutes said. “The goal of the steering committee will be to research and poll the community to find out the role the county will have in providing services to the elderly and people who can’t manage on their own.”

Within the work that the steering committee will be doing, members will be looking for potential resources to aid seniors, such as housing for independent and semi-independent seniors, and other services, Lutes said.

While the scope of the steering committee will be to look at potential resources county-wide, both Lutes and Collins said the committee would look at ways the Cass County Medical Care Facility can provide incoming eldercare needs. As the facility is a government-run nursing home, it is one of the county’s most substantial resources for senior care, Collins said.

“(The Cass County Medical Care Facility) is a great facility and is one of the few government-run nursing homes to have a five-star rating,” Collins said.” But there are challenges as the population ages….There will need to be a continuing focus on how we take care of our aging population. We want to ensure that it remains a five-star facility that is staffed and maintained to provide the level of care that is needed.”

Collins said the county plans to have the committee operating within the next 30 days. Until then, the county will be working to put together a committee of county commissioners and residents that will be able to bring a diverse set of perspectives to the table. 

Both Collins and Lutes said they hope the steering committee will prove to be a valuable resource to the county as it continues efforts to care for the aging population. 

“I see the county’s place in the future as providing options where folks can age in place rather than being uprooted from various spots in their lives,” Lutes said.

“This is a combined effort for all community partners to join for the good of the order and hope to determine how we, as a community, provide care for those in need.” 

CCMCF hosts annual Thanksgiving meal

CASSOPOLIS- Sunday, every room of the Cass County Medical Care Facility, 23770 Hospital St., was packed to the brim with residents and families alike enjoying a holiday feast. 

The government-run nursing home hosted its annual Thanksgiving meal at noon Sunday. With a meal consisting of a turkey and traditional sides and desserts, the day’s event drew more than 300 visitors.

According to Administrator (in training) Christian Lutes, the Thanksgiving meal has been hosted at the facility for more than a decade.

“This is our way of thanking our residents and their families,” he said. “We are just grateful to be a part of the community and to be able to serve the community.”

Once the meal was over and the facility was cleared of its hundreds of visitors, Lutes said staff had to begin preparing to do it all over again for a meal to be hosted for residents who were staying in facility on Thanksgiving Day.

“We do this a little bit early so we can have a big Thanksgiving here, but people can also celebrate with their families on Thanksgiving Day,” Lutes said. ” We cook twice. We do this for the families, then we cook this meal all over again for our residents on Thanksgiving Day.”


 Oct.  24, 2019

A Nice Surprise

To say I was surprised is to say the least. If you like surprises take a trip to the Cass County Medical Care Facility on Hospital Street. Everything has a new modern look with bright colors and lots of creativity. The buildings are located among beautiful lawns and trees, and one can see two nice outdoor patios. Guests and residents can relax enjoying a multitude of flowers and birds. You won’t believe the three dead trees, each artistically carved with a chain saw- a beautiful eagle with spread wings, a magnificent horse head and lastly one tree with holes, and little animals peeking out. Inside is bright and airy with warm welcoming touches- no wonder the facility was given a five-star rating for patient care.

                             GINGER LUXENBERGER


Fall Fun (2019)

Cass County Medical Care Facility to host annual picnic

The Cass County Medical Care Facility is inviting the public to it’s annual picnic from 11am to 3pm Sunday Sept, 22 2019. The event, which will honor first responders and veterans in attendance, will feature a picnic lunch, a bounce house and face painting for children, live music, a tree carver on site and contests. 

“What we do is we house community members in need regardless of their ability to pay.” said Christian Lutes. “We have always existed to help the community, not to make a dollar.”

“This is honoring and recognizing county members.” Lutes said. “We want to invite the entire county. Please come out and see your tax dollar at work. See how we take care of our own. This is a way of integrating ourselves into the community while giving back. 

Honoring Heroes (Cass County Medical Care Facility hosts First Responder Luncheon 2018)

The Cass County Medical Care Facility hosted a first responder luncheon intended to honor local first responders and emergency workers. Representatives from agencies across the county were in attendance at the event, including: the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Central Cass Fire Department, Pokagon Tribal Police, Penn Township Fire Department, the Pokagon Fire Department and more. 

“This is the county’s way- and all of our patient’s way- of saying thank you to folks who take care of us and don’t get the recognition.” Lutes said he felt it was appropriate for the facility to host the first responder’s luncheon to thank other Cass County entities for keeping the county safe.

Alan Miltenberger, a firefighter with the Pokagon Fire Department for the last 10 years, said he thought the event was a great thing for the county. “This is really nice,” he said. “I do what I do because I love it, but this is still really nice to be thought of.”

Chief of the Cass Central Fire Department Jeff Locke said he was similarly grateful for the event, even though he said first responders do not do what they do for the recognition.

“I just feel that everyone should give back to the community and this was my way of giving back to the community,” he said. “But, its great to be noticed and to know that what we do is appreciated by people. It’s awful nice of (Cass County Medical Care Facility) to do this.”

Caring for the Community (2018)

Several commissioners took time at the meeting to express their respect for the Cass County Medical Care Facility.

“Thank goodness there are people like you to support our aging generation,” said Commissioner Clark Cobb. “It’s a big job, and there is more to it than a lot of people realize. Thank you for all you do.” 

Commissioner Rosann Marchetti also thanked the facility, saying that she has seen the work they do in action as she has had loved ones stay at the facility.

Lutes said he was honored and humbled by the recognition by the board of commissioners.

“We are proud to be a part of the county, the community.” he said. “We are going to do you proud. We are proud to demonstrate a positive outcome and be the only five-star facility in the area.”

“We plan to expand to meet the needs of our population as the senior population expands in the coming years.”

County Medical Care Facility gets Five-Star Ranking (2018)

Cass County Medical Care Facility Interim Director Christian Lutes tells commissioners that the facility earned five-star recognition.

The Cass County Medical Care Facility presented its annual report to the Cass County Board of Commissioners during the board’s regular meeting Thursday evening. The report contained information material about what the facility does, and also revealed that the facility was ranked as a top nursing home in the state of Michigan in 2018. 

Interim Director Lutes presented the report to the board of commissioners. He began by explaining what the Cass County Medical Care Facility is and how it benefits seniors in Cass County and beyond. 

“We are a county facility governed by the county of Cass,” Lutes said. “Not only do we provide housing for the rest of people’s lives should they need it, but we also rehabilitate people back home, so they can resume their lives.”

When Lutes made this announcement, adding that the facility had also received a five-star rating by, commissioners burst into applause.