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Paperwork proves challenging for owners of new adult day care facility in Sparks

John Seelmeyer

Jeff and Amy Dold worked through mazes of regulatory paperwork, talked the City of Sparks into creating a zoning category that allowed their business to exist, worried daily about continued government funding, and did all this in the midst of the worst recessions in a really long time.

They’re optimists.

After 15 months of paperwork and planning, the Dolds opened an adult day care center, the first in Sparks, in mid-June.

And now that they’re open, they’re wading into an even-bigger pile of paperwork in an effort to open the door for Medicaid funding for some of the clients at More to Life Adult Day Health Center.

The 2,000-square-foot center at 1963 E. Prater Way that’s just west of Vista Boulevard provides supervised care for dependent adults during the day.

The thought is that working families can rely on More to Life to provide care for aging relatives during the day, then return home with them in the evening.

The center is licensed for 40 clients, and Jeff Dold says the center breaks even at between 10 and 20 clients, depending on whether their care is funded privately or through a government program. Prices range from about $30 for a basic half day of care to $75 for full-day service that requires extra attention.

The Dolds’ marketing efforts these days are almost a vacation compared with the challenges they needed to overcome to get this far:

* They worked to meet the state’s strict standards for the operation of adult day centers, particularly those such as More to Life that have a nurse on staff to provide medical services.

* The City of Sparks didn’t have a zoning category that allowed for More to Life, so the Dolds worked with city planners to define adult day care centers and permit them.

* With zoning in hand, the Dolds leased a building shell in an office park, lined up an architect and a contractor, oversaw the tenant improvement and crossed their fingers until the center passed health and building inspections.

“This is not an easy industry,” acknowledges Jeff Dold, a former engineer and project manager. The couple, who have six children, financed the project from their own resources.

Now, as the Dolds work to win approval for Medicaid payments, they also worry about whether the continued squeeze on state finances might lead to Medicaid cutbacks.

That’s important, Jeff Dold says, because clients who rely on Medicaid and Veterans Administration payments are expected to be the center’s bread and butter.

Private-pay clients will account for a smaller portion, and working families that once might have considered use of adult day care facilities now are squeezed themselves.

“The people who need us can’t afford us,” Dold says.

The couple also is working to get the word out to caregivers, doctors, social service agencies and others who might refer clients to the center.

Through it all, Jeff Dold says he remains focused on the reasons the couple decided to create the adult day center.

“The real importance of life is working with people,” he says. “I love the work. I love the people. What worries me is the unknown.”