781 Highway 494, Natchitoches, LA 71457
CommCare Corporation has owned and operated skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers throughout Louisiana since 1994 and is currently the largest non-profit nursing home owner in Louisiana.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Louisiana’s nursing homes were disproportionately impacted: in the first year of the pandemic, of the roughly 4,000 deaths in Louisiana, approximately 41% occurred in nursing homes. This was largely due to the average age of the facilities, as the older homes were built with more communal space, making viral transmission more prevalent.
CommCare learned that their Household modelled facilities fared surprisingly well during the pandemic, as they were built to provide an adequate buffer between each resident’s living space, thus limiting the airborne and contact-related spread of COVID-19.
Specifically, CommCare noted four primary benefits of to Household model:
- Having a private room eliminates the potential for airborne spread of the virus from patient to patient in close living and sleeping quarters;
- Private baths eliminates the sharing of toilets, sinks, tooth brush holders, paper dispensers, etc. – all items that are touched when using;
- The household (itself at 25 to 30 residents per household) acts as a separate unit, with separate dining and entertainment areas within the building thereby eliminating social contact spread commonly found in traditional common dining or a common activities room buildings
- Consistent staffing, which is only found in a household model, prevents staff from traveling around the entire building
These four lessons were central to the design of the new Natchitoches facility. In the midst of the pandemic, CommCare found that traditional construction funding was growing ever more expensive. So in October, 2020, CommCare engaged Crescent Growth Capital (“CGC”) to pursue a New Markets Tax Credit financing to subsidize the development cost for the new facility.
In May, 2021, CGC and CommCare closed on a $5 million Louisiana State and $16.5 million Federal NMTC financing, utilizing allocation provided by AMCREF and HRV. The project will provide vital nursing, therapy, and pharmacy services to residents of the surrounding low-income community of Natchitoches. The project will also provide a cafeteria with a healthy, nutritious menu approved by a licensed dietician. Residents, employees, family, and community members are all welcome to dine at the facility. The roughly $20M facility is expected to increase total employment by 55 FTE’s, 74% of which are expected to be minorities, with all the new positions having access to career training and advancement opportunities in an economically distressed area.