Nursing home wants to attract more Medicare residents

By Roger Amsden

LACONIA — The Belknap County Nursing Home is stepping up efforts to attract more residents who are on Medicare with an eye to boosting its revenues.

Interim County Nursing Home Administrator Bob Hemenway told member of the Belknap County Convention's Nursing Home Subcommittee last week that the nursing home receives $515 a day for Medicare residents and only $159 a day for residents who are on Medicaid.

He said that its costs the county around $300 a day per resident and that Medicare residents more than pay for those costs.

“We're getting a 50 percent profit from Medicare patients. That's why private nursing homes focus on attracting Medicare residents.” said Hemenway.

Rep. Valerie Fraser (R-New Hampton) asked “how do we increase the number of Medicare patients?” and Hemenway said that there has been an increase from last year to an average of eight Medicare residents per day compared to an average of 5.9 per day in 2015. The nursing home has 94 beds.

Belknap County Nursing Home Director of Nursing Diane Roberts said that the county is working to get the word out to hospital social workers about the quality of care provided by the county home, which has a high national ranking.

“We're trying hard to market ourselves,'' said Roberts, who said that some private homes are viewed as luxurious, making them difficult to compete with.

Hemenway said that there were things that the county could do to improve its competitiveness.

“Look at the walls. Do they look like your home? They're cinder block,” he said, adding that one woman who was having trouble adjusting to the surroundings asked “Why am I in jail?”

He said that improving the walls and having curtains rather than blinds in the windows were some inexpensive things the county can do to make its rooms more attractive.

County Administrator Debra Shackett noted that while Medicaid patients cost the county a lot of money it is also one of the primary functions of the county to provide for their care.

County Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), who was not at last week's meeting, recently told his fellow commissioners that one of the reasons for a drop in the county home's reimbursement rate of $6 a day was a 10 percent drop in the number of Medicaid patients in 2015 from what the county home had in 2014.

Belmont Principal Clary to retire at the end of school year

Principal Dan Clary at Belmont High School sits at a special desk made for him in honor of being named vice principal of the year in 2010. He is surrounded by mementos and photos of his 12 years in Belmont. Clary will retire at the end of this school year. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

BELMONT — After 12 years at Belmont High School, with the last four in the role as principal, Dan Clary will be retiring at the end of this school year.

By Gail Ober

BELMONT — After 12 years at Belmont High School, with the last four in the role as principal, Dan Clary will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Clary came to Belmont from Concord High School at the assistant principal in 2004 and, besides his role at being mascot Buddy the Elf, he was named the New Hampshire Vice Principal of the year in 2010.

"I definitely going to miss my interaction with all of the people and the students," Clary said from his office yesterday morning. "A big part of me enjoyed being able to answer those questions and being able to help whenever anyone needs it."

"All teachers and administrators like this," he said.

Clary became an educator after trying his hand a running a family-based hardware store. He had earned his bachelor's degree in education with a history minor at Ohio State University and started teaching high school social studies in New York.
He holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Plymouth State University.

He came to New Hampshire and taught high school history for four years in Newport and four additional years in Lebanon before taking the same job at Concord High School under now-retired Superintendent Chris Rath.

He said he was twice tapped to become the temporary chairman of the Department Social Studies and World Languages at Concord High School and "got the bug" of being an administrator from those two experiences and earned his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from PSU.

In 2002-2003, while at Concord High School, he was asked to participate in a group of educators who were awarded $50,000 in federal grants to potentially divide Concord High School into four separate learning communities.

He said they worked on the planning portion but learned that there were too many schools ahead of them that qualified for the actual federal program, and since Concord High School was such a good school, the school would not get the grant. The next year, he joined Belmont High School, which at about 500 students was the perfect size high school for him, he said.

"I like that feeling of getting to know people very quickly," Clary said about the size of the school.
While Clary has brought a hands-on attitude to Belmont High School – he could always be seen with his students clearing the land behind the Belmont Mill or tinkering with something – he said his creation of the "power hour" is one of his better initiatives.

Power-hour is a time between classes where students have access to one-on-one conferences with teachers or to gather into study groups and master some course work. He said it's particularly important because many Belmont High School students work part-time jobs, have other activities and sports, and can't necessarily stay after school to get extra help.

He said in an age where competency-based teaching, which is what students know and how they can apply it, the district wants all of its students to reach that level even it it takes some of them a bit longer than others. Students are encouraged to use power hour to seek assistance from teachers or to gather with other students to help them reach that competency level.

"Many need more work and the teachers are there to help them," he said.

Clary said the hour has also been extremely beneficial to some of the honors and advanced placements students who are carrying very high class loads and need some extra time during the day.

"It can happen while they're all here and the teachers are willing and available," he said.

Clary also instituted a Combination Award that is given to two students each semester from each class room teacher who has seen some extra accomplishment or efforts in a particular subject area.

He said the award is not typically given to the honors students but for those who have show something special to their teachers. "We have a big ceremony and everything," Clary said, adding it's one of his favorite parts of the semester.

As for his future, it's family time for him and his wife Jackie who will retire this year from her job as an art teacher in Lebanon. He said they have a new grandchild and will be building a home near their children in South Carolina.

Tilton Dunkin’ Donuts ravaged by fire

The Dunkin' Donuts in Tilton was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Jan. 27. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

The Dunkin' Donuts in Tilton was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Jan. 27. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)


By Michael Kitch

TILTON — Fire erupting in the early morning hours yesterday all but destroyed the Dunkin' Donuts at 541 West Main St.

Employees arriving to open for business found smoke in the building and reported the fire at 2:49 a.m. Five minutes later a crew from Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS , followed closely by firefighters from Franklin, reached the scene where heavy smoke was billowing from the eaves at the front of the building. Captain Sean Valovanie of Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS requested a second alarm that drew companies from Belmont, Concord, Gilford, Laconia and Sanbornton to the fire while units from New Hampton and Gilmanton provided station coverage.

The first crews to arrive entered the building, but at the sight of heavy fire in the roof quickly withdrew and mounted an attack from outside. When the roof, constructed with light wooden trusses, failed the fire burned free and fire spread rapidly as firefighters deployed ladder pipes to contain and extinguish it..

"This was a large building with a significant fire load," said Valovanie, who estimated that more than 100,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire.

Firefighter Justin Kantar said that the employees responded promptly and "did an excellent job of keeping out of the building, ensuring their safety and minimizing fire spread."

Because of the extent of the damage to the building, the cause of the fire has not been determined. The New Hampshire State Fire Marshall is assisting with the investigation.

More than 30 firefighters at the scene were provided with refreshments generously donated by Nick Rathosis, the owner of the building.