Local government pushed to sell county nursing home, with detrimental results

Posted 5 December 2022 at 7:22 pm


I am writing this letter to my community as a former member of the Save Our Nursing Home group.

We marched, we went door-to-door with petitions and flyers, we made phone calls, we wrote letters to officials and letters to our community like the one I am writing now.

Everything we said would happen, did happen!!! What is shockingly clear based on this investigation is how quickly working conditions and in turn care shifted from good to awful. We were trying to protect a nursing home for our family members, friends, and community.

As a citizen, taxpayer, and county resident for 40 years I am outraged when I think of the things our elected officials said and did – how the process unfolded. I hold our elected officials who planned and fought hard to push this through as accountable as the respondents in the lawsuit.

There was an election during this period. The Save Our Nursing Home group made flyers, photocopied and distributed them as we could.

The party in control of Orleans County since I have been here sent out the fanciest flyer I have ever seen in our local politics, both before, and ever since. My first thought was, “Wow, I didn’t realize we had that much money for local politics in Orleans County!” I wish I still had a copy. They said we were using scare tactics, there was nothing to fear. This flyer went to every home in the county. They said the county would save money and a for-profit company would be more efficient than government. Many of you are still in office and you let us down.

Smaller government has been the rallying call across the country for decades, and we are a microcosm of our nation. Privatize, privatize, privatize. From nursing homes to prisons and everything in between we have been told for-profit company will do it better.

The outcomes in our community are not unique. I read an in-depth exposé on nursing homes that was based on a post-COVID lawsuit. It was either the nursing home that found the first case or had the first person to die from COVID. I don’t remember, and I invite anyone to look into it. The writer uncovered a similar scheme that is taking place across the country. The land the nursing home is on is owned by a real estate company that charges the nursing home rent. Multiple private companies provide services and charge for them, reducing the money left for workers. Overwhelmed and under paid workers provide substandard care because the jobs are impossible.

The people who support smaller government also often say people shouldn’t expect the government to take care of them. I have heard so many say that people want government to take care of them.

We are the government. It is our tax dollars. I would like my tax dollars to educate our children, care for our elderly, build our infrastructure, provide health care, etc.

I do not see it as looking for handouts from government. I am investing my tax dollars to provide essential services to my family, my community, and me.


Betty García Mathewson