The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

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October 25, 2013

LETTER: Selling nursing home is way to keep it viable

Medina Journal-Register — Selling nursing home is way to keep it viable

Despite what I keep hearing, running a county government is not a one-issue proposition. We face numerous issues. Limiting yourself to one issue as a candidate is not doing the public a service. Evaluating the whole picture based on a limited view does not lead to sound decision making.

Ninety-four percent of nursing homes in the United States are not owned by state or county government. In fact, U.S. News and World Report does a ranking of all nursing homes in the United States. Thirteen of the homes in Western New York were given an elite ranking by the magazine. Based on the rhetoric, you would think that they were all county-owned public facilities. In reality, none of them are; 12 are private and one is a VA facility.

There are 17 counties in New York State with population of less than 55,000. Only three of those counties own a nursing home; it used to be more. In the arena of public services, this is a high-end, non-mandated item. Unfortunately, it’s one that is getting a lot more expensive.

I realize that this is an emotional issue. But losing millions on this operation doesn’t make sense. If we can see that a high level of service is maintained at no cost to the county taxpayers — aside from their capped Medicaid contribution that every county makes whether or not they operate a nursing home —don’t we have an obligation to see that it happens? Many counties and many with more means than Orleans County, are making the decision to exit the nursing home business for this very reason.

When the county asked for help from the CSEA a while back, we received a copy of the legislature chairman’s letter back from CSEA with a handwritten note on it that simply said, “No thank you!!”

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