State-wide study grouped all nursing homes, and cast unfair negative light on Orleans County nursing home

Posted 29 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Dear Editor:

The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) issued “The Future of County Nursing Homes in New York State ” last week. (Report: Future of county-owned nursing homes in jeopardy) I have actually read it. It does not address the operations of specific county-owned nursing homes. Its conclusions combine, or average, the statistics, practices and losses of all county-owned nursing homes.

The bestlike Orleans County’sare averaged in with the worst and lost in the process. Specific county-owned nursing homes are not separated out as being among those using best practices. What it makes plain is that each county nursing home has to be evaluated in its own context.

For an Orleans County leader to call attention to this study as though it excuses a serious absence of due diligence (doing one’s ‘homework’) by Orleans County is stunning. (See an Aug. 28 article from The Daily News “CGR report confirms county-owned nursing homes a losing proposition.”) Not only is it no substitute for due diligence, “The Future of County Nursing Homes in New York State” was published six months after the Orleans County Legislature decided to create an LDC to sell “The Villages of Orleans.”

County leaders didn’t conduct an impartial study before deciding to act. CGR has done specific studies for Murray/Holley, the Village of Medina , Shelby/Ridgeway and Genesee County, among others.

It isn’t as if Orleans County leaders are unaware of the Rochester-based non-profit’s existence, but Orleans County leaders never even contacted CGR about analyzing the operations of “The Villages of Orleans.” In fact, CGR offered its services to the LDC Board about a month ago. The Board, which answers only to the Legislature Chairman, rejected CGR’s services in favor of a firm whose services would cost much more.

The decision to sell our Orleans County Nursing Home was made against the advice of the one county legislator, George Bower, who knows the home best. At least four decisions that could improve the Nursing Home’s bottom line have not been made.

We have made it a very attractive facility to any potential buyer, especially when the means for improving the bottom line are so obvious. That is why the LDC Board’s agent is assuring potential buyers that a profit can be expected in 2015!

The decision to risk the quality care our frail elderly receive from the Four-Star “Villages of Orleans” without serious analysis by experts is shockingly irresponsible.

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent

(Kent is a candidate for Orleans County legislator.)