The county's nursing home posted losses in July and August, the second and third consecutive months it has failed to break even.
Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center lost $227,699 between July and August, while Montevue Assisted Living saw a $377,788 deficit, for a combined shortfall of $605,487 across the two months, according to financial statements for the facilities.
The well-known financial struggles at the two centers underpinned county commissioners' June decision to sell the centers to Aurora Health Management, a for-profit company.
However, the recent lackluster performance of Citizens follows a couple of months of surpluses.
Those who oppose the facility sales, which haven't gone to closing, argue the centers can become self-sustaining if properly managed. They have looked carefully for signs of a financial turnaround as they seek to show the centers could stay in county ownership without burdening taxpayers.
Melanie Cox, a former nursing home officer who disagrees with privatizing Citizens and Montevue, said the most recent financial reports concern her. However, she stands by her assertion that if billing rates were adjusted, the facilities could break even in as soon as two years.
The batch of reports released this week gives the first glimpse of the centers' finances under Aurora's leadership, the Millersville-based company that started operating the facilities in August on a month-to-month contract with the county.
Both Cox and Lori Depies, county manager, said one month does not provide enough data for a good evaluation of Aurora's management. But Cox said the reports do raise questions about occupancy levels at Citizens, a 170-bed nursing home.
Her analysis of the county's reports show the average daily occupancy at Citizens fell from June to July and only partially rebounded in August. She said the drop-off partially explains the two months' losses.
She noted that revenue at Montevue, a 75-bed assisted living center, also fell sharply from June to July, and she said an increase in vacancies could be responsible for the decline.
Depies said Aurora has been making a push to collect unpaid debts and set the facilities on course to fiscal stability. However, in their first month, Aurora representatives were getting familiar with the centers and doing some recalibrating. For instance, Aurora raised the percentage of payments owed to Citizens that are deemed uncollectible each month. The adjustment created a spike from July to August in expenses due to bad debt, Depies said.
"I'm not surprised not to see any big shifts in the financial picture," Depies said of the reports. "Aurora spent August really getting their hands around things."
But because Aurora is introducing changes, the fiscal 2014 budget projections for the centers might be off the mark. Depies said it's too soon to tell whether Citizens will need help beyond the roughly $690,000 subsidy the county has budgeted for it in fiscal 2014.
Cox will eagerly await the next round of financial reports, she said.
"I would hope that September would show a major improvement both in revenue and expense management."
Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.