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For-profit nursing home owner will compromise care to seniors

Posted 17 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Editor:

My name is Betty Garcí­a Mathewson. I have been a resident of Orleans County since 1987. I am opposed to the sale of the county nursing home. First, I do not work at the nursing home; though I have met a few people who do since I’ve joined Concerned Citizens, and to date no one in my family has needed it.

The moment you sell the nursing home to a for-profit organization, you take a slice of the financial resources out of the total income to make the business profitable. We currently have a nursing home that is struggling to provide the care with the money they receive. How would a for-profit corporation save money and make things more efficient? I have seen them fire employees, cut wages, cut benefits, and ask fewer people to do more work. This will not maintain quality of care. Increasing the workload and reducing wages and benefits will increase employee turnover. One key to our current quality of care is our stable employees.

The primary focus of a for-profit organization is to make money. The primary motive of a non-profit is to fulfill the mission of the organization. In this case that would be caring for Orleans County seniors and other residents rehabilitating after surgery. If our nursing home is sold to a for-profit provider, their primary focus will be to make money.

Corporations are required by law to take the interests of their shareholders above everything else. I don’t feel comfortable with the decisions for how to operate my county nursing home to be made based on the profit of shareholders. I don’t want my tax money to pay for the profits of a corporation. When a senior receiving their health care through Medicaid goes to a for-profit nursing home, a portion of our tax dollars are going to fund profit. This will happen whether the nursing home is in our community or not.

I urge everyone in our community to stand against this sale. We need to sit down and figure out our very real problems in a manner that does not hurt so many. What kind of community do we want to live in? I want to live in a community that cares for its elders, one that is there for me in 30 or 40 years when I might need it.

Betty Garcí­a Mathewson
Albion, NY