Nursing home consultant overstated potential deficits at The Villages

Posted 22 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Dear Editor:

Your gut tells you that keeping faith with generations that have always been there for us is only right.

Orleans County leaders want you to believe that numbers they know are guesstimates are more important.Would we have the story of the Good Samaritan if they had electronic calculators in Biblical times?

What County leaders are not telling us has a lot to do with their consultants.

Consultants stay in business when their clients (Orleans County) don’t get blindsided by bad surprises.When consultants estimate losses, they must estimate high.When they estimate revenues, they must estimate low.That way any surprises are likely to be pleasant oneslower losses and higher revenues.

In December 2010, a local reporter wrote that the County Nursing Home was looking at a $2 million loss for 2011.Perhaps the County’s consultants thought that was a safe number to use in an effort to scare the public into selling our County Nursing Home.

Later that year, the chairman said, “The financials are looking better than we expected.” Was the actual loss really 1/6 of what had been reported as likely?

The loss for 2011 was still a big number, but it wasn’t close to what they were saying when they were trying to scare people into selling the County Nursing Home. Remember, too, that you are not told what any other non-mandated service costs.

Current year “losses” get reimbursed up to two years later.It would be like getting reimbursed for expenses when your boss sends you on a business trip and still maintaining that everything you paid out of pocket as an expense was a “loss.”

In 2005, our consultants told us to expect our Medicaid reimbursement rate to rise by $20/resident/day if we did a $10,000,000 renovation that is making our nursing home attractive to a potential buyer today. The rate actually rose by over $60/resident/day!

The difference between what they promised and what we actually receive amounts to an extra million dollars in revenue every year.

Taking consultant estimates and using them to make a case for selling the County Nursing Home is disingenuous. Loss estimates must be overstated, and the County knows it. Revenue estimates must be understated, or a consultant won’t be in business very long.

These realities are just two of several “inconvenient truths.”

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

(Editor’s note: Kent is a former Orleans County legislator who is seeking election this November.)