FRANKLIN — "What we're filled with is people that never expected to live here," said Meg Miller, administrator of the Peabody Home, a nonprofit residential community that provides the least expensive nursing home beds in the state, and does so by utilizing a novel business plan.
The Peabody Home dates back to 1938, when four residents bequeathed a total of $190,234.20 to "establish a home for the aged in Franklin." The Franklin Home for the Aged opened in 1942, though the given name was eventually overtaken by its current name, which was favored by residents as the facility was built on property once known as the Peabody Homestead.
"In 1938, people took care of their family. So, the Peabody Home was built for people with no families," said Miller.
Today, though, the Peabody Home serves a different niche – people who can't afford more expensive facilities, yet have too much in assets to qualify for Medicaid. Miller said she is able to offer a reasonably priced assisted living or nursing home option thanks to a unique billing strategy that forgoes Medicaid.
"We don't participate in Medicaid. We're entirely private," Miller said. The problem with accepting Medicaid, she said, is that it only pays $140 per day for a nursing home bed. "Which misses the mark by about $60."
Facilities that take Medicaid residents are able to cover that deficit by shifting costs on to other residents, she explained, which is partly why average nursing home beds cost $270 to $300 per day.
"I charge $124 to $144 a day for a nursing home bed," she said.
While other facilities roll all of the nursing home services into the price of a bed, Miller said the Peabody Home's lower per-day fee is the base price on an a la carte menu of services.
"We are like the Yankee plan for that, you only pay for what you use," she said. The base price covers housekeeping, laundry and three meals each day. Fees for additional services can be added when, and if, residents require them.
The Peabody Home has space for four residents in an independent living space, 10 beds for assisted living, and 29 beds for residents who require nursing care. The home has 60 employees, and is staffed around the clock.