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Leg candidate believes county should keep operating nursing home

Posted 3 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Editor:

I have been attending Orleans County Legislature meetings. Toward the end of the meeting on Aug. 28, Chairman David Callard held up a copy of the newspaper and showed it to the whole chamber. He stated he wanted to bring attention to the fact that our county nursing home is losing money. He said it supports the decision to sell the nursing home.

Not so fast. Here are some of my thoughts. Treating something like gospel because it’s in the paper is insanity.

Granted, the nursing home is losing money. How much is debatable.The CGR study says it is impossible to know. Just last Friday, the county said $2.1 million in 2012. Its own realtor said $295,000. But is it the money? Have you driven through Orleans County and seen the multitude of signs and heard the buzz?

We as citizens and taxpayers of this county have always looked out for our most indigent, frail and elderly. Perhaps the desire to save their seats on our Legislature board has distracted their attention from this obligation.

We should focus on rehab care, concentrate on behavioral patients, or specialize on those hard-to-place patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. These are called “hard-to-place” in the CGR report. Taking them, however, requires more staff and reduces reimbursement. What is at stake are some really sick and vulnerable residents of our county who will be left outside with nowhere to go!

I also think there would be some advantage to sitting down with members of the C.S.E.A. to start negotiations to see how they can help assist and negotiate as it relates to the multiple employees who are currently employed there before they are forced out of their jobs with a proactive approach.

I would like to make this clear.If the county chooses to sell the nursing home, there is no obligation to sell it to the highest bidder. The amount of monies we currently pay out for the Medicaid eligible nursing home residents stays the same. There are also bonds against the renovations that we as taxpayers will continue to be responsible for.

What makes anyone think a private operator can make a profit and still accept all the hard-to place residents our county nursing home must take? In one case a county home that was sold was later closed by the state. The displaced residents were sent wherever the state could find room for them.

In closing I would ask everyone to take a very close look at this. Try to impose on your local legislators to not sell the nursing home. Educate yourselves deeper into the tragedy of selling this facility.Look at the real economic impact on our community. Say hello to our anxious seniors with a sincere trust you will not let something happen to them. We need to find a way to operate this facility that will result in a reasonable commitment on the part of taxpayers.

Respectfully submitted,

David C. Schult
Waterport

(Schult is endorsed by the Democratic Party as a candidate for Orleans County Legislature for District 4 – the towns of Carlton, Kendall and Murray.)