WALLINGFORD — Masonicare Health Center serves more than 1,000 meals a day, and the new building administrator said she eats with residents at least once daily.
The Masonicare Board of Trustees hired Amy Pellerin earlier this month as long-term care administrator for the Masonicare Health Center, 22 Masonic Ave.
Masonicare is the largest not-for-profit provider of senior care in Connecticut. The Health Center houses 345 in-house patients currently, out of 366 total beds, 65 of which are short-term inpatient rehab. The rest are long-term care.
On the Health Center campus, there are 93 independent living rental apartments and a “residential care home,” licensed by the state for people on restricted incomes, which has 86 apartments.
Pellerin is responsible for day-to-day operations and oversees about 835 staff members, including nurses, managers, social workers, dining staff, housekeeping, laundry and maintenance staff, the volunteer department, chaplain services, recreation and therapy services.
“We have a lot of layers, but you need it,” Pellerin said.
Pellerin graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Family Studies and completed the Health Systems Management program in UConn’s School of Business Administration, with a concentration on long-term health care management.
“This is a very big community,” said Margaret Steeves, Masonicare’s vice president of communications, “so searching for the right leader for a continuum of this size, we just really need somebody who can rock it.”
Masonicare Chief Operating Officer Mark Garilli said in a statement that Pellerin makes a “great addition to the leadership team.”
“We will benefit from her many years of experience in the field of nursing care and rehabilitation services,” he said.
As the sole administrator of the Health Center, Pellerin said she’s out on the floor a lot, checking in with residents, patients, staff at shift changes and clinical and building department heads .
“My job is to oversee and make sure that everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said.
Other duties include maintaining staffing, overseeing the quality of care and ensuring resident, patient and staff satisfaction.
“I come from a for-profit world,” she said, adding that Masonicare “is the first organization I’ve worked for that puts patient care first, above staffing numbers. It’s nice to see the support services we have.”
Masonicare offers a full health care continuum, from independent and assisted living to skilled nursing to hospice care. The Health Center includes an outpatient clinic, mid-level nurses and dental services.
“Our patients don’t have to go out to the hospital for x-rays,” Pellerin said. “They can go down the hall.”
Of course, the duties of an administrator include dealing with patient insurance, government regulations and reimbursement issues.
“There’s always changes that go on,” she said. “There’s rules and regulations, changes to the reimbursement system designed to not pay us for the services we provide, or to figure out a way to take back money, or not give increases for the care that we are providing.”
Masonicare, she said, was an attractive employer because of the way the organization handles financial issues.
“This organization has everything to take it into the next level of those regulations,” she said, “and to be a part of that, and know it can sustain those changes the federal and state government is throwing at us.”
Pellerin lives in Middletown and has three daughters.
Masonicare’s continuum includes the Masonicare Health Center and Ashlar Village retirement community in Wallingford, which has nearly 600 residents, and retirement communities in Chester and Mystic. The organization offers home health care throughout the state.