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Selling nursing home to private company wouldn’t result in ‘geriatric apocalypse’

Posted 20 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Editor:

As I drive around the county, I see signs imploring passersby to “Save our county nursing home.” There have also been a few letters to your publication outlining the geriatric apocalypse that will ensue if the county gets out of the nursing home business and hands it over, with oversight, to a private concern. I think a few points should be made.

First, the county nursing home is not going anywhere. It will remain the valuable resource that it is and remain in its present location. Because it will always remain in Orleans County, what, exactly, are we saving it from?

The second point is the care of the residents. Hospitals and nursing homes are arguably the most regulated “business” in the state and the nation. The very same regulators that are checking on the care of the residents now, will be checking on the care of the residents when a private concern takes it over. There will be no change or gap in their regulating.

The third point is funding. You have to ask yourself, who is in a better position to keep costs in check, the county legislators or a company whose very existence depends on the efficient and, once again under the watchful eye of state regulators, safe operation of the nursing home? It seems to me that a firm that employs specialists in geriatric care, elder law, Veteran’s Administration benefits, diet, social activities and housekeeping among other specialties would better serve the needs of the residents.

Finally, although it hasn’t been mentioned, I am sure there is a concern for the present employees. I’m sure they are dedicated, caring, possess years of experience and know how the business should run. If I were the human resource officer of a nursing home company, I would do all I could to retain these employees. Perhaps there would be opportunities in other locations or merit based promotions right here in Orleans County.

Right now, although there is social security funding, social services funding, veterans administration funding and private funding, the county nursing home is still losing money. The present solution is to raise taxes. I, for one, would like to see what the private sector could do. The LDC should look for a responsible company and, with county oversight, let the professionals run the county nursing home.

Paul J. Blajszczak
Medina, NY