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January 4, 2010 - 5:37pm

County nursing home isn't up for sale, but the option is part of a proposed study

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee County Nursing Home.

BATAVIA, NY -- Contrary to the perception that might be out there, there is no "for sale" sign hanging on the Genesee County Nursing Home.

That doesn't mean the county couldn't seek a buyer, but according to County Manager Jay Gsell, the only thing the county is doing right now is looking for a consultant to help it study options for dealing with escalating costs associated with the home.

One of those options is sale, which is what has former legislature candidate Chris Charvella so concerned.

Charvella has been drafted to organize and speak for a group of concerned citizens -- including some residents of the home -- seeking to block any possible sale, even before the option is fully studied.

"I realize it's not set in stone," Charvella said. "But our county government has a history of looking for sale as the first option rather than fully considering other options."

The local businessman is pretty convinced that given the option, the legislature would seek a buyer for the home pretty quickly.

"The County Legislature's first duty is to the taxpaying citizens and this is an essential service," Charvella said. "We have people who pay taxes here their entire lives and expect this safety-net option."

Human Services Committee Chairwoman Esther Leadley said that, of course, sale is an option. It has to be, she said, if the Legislature is to act responsibly in protecting the interests of taxpayers.

The county is in a difficult position, she said.

"This has been coming at us like a freight train and we're sitting on the tracks," Leadley said. "The taxpayers are sitting on the tracks and we can't let them stay there. This is something that we're not rah-rah to do. It is something that we've got to look at."

Last month, the county put out a request-for-proposal seeking bids from potential consultants. The RFP spells out clearly what the county is looking for:

"Genesee County, New York, a non-chartered county government located in western New York between Buffalo and Rochester is seeking a professional service/consultant to assist the County in evaluating its options for the operation, management and/or sale of its 160 bed Skilled Nursing Facility and adjoined 80 bed Public Adult Home which comprise a complete long term care facility located at 278 Banks Street, Batavia, NY 14020.  Said service/consultant will be asked to assist the County in outlining options for future public and/or private ownership/operation of the present 240 bed facility and to help the County develop a strategy and plan of action for going forward with said facility and residents."

The big-cost bullet the county is looking to dodge, according to Gsell, is escalating personnel costs, especially in regard to benefits.

"Public employees cost more than private-sector employees and that's the kind of thing we will factor in where this going," Gsell said.

Gsell said that he wouldn't expect any current employees to lose their jobs if the facility was sold or operation was turned over to a private company. Because of the skills and experience required for such a facility, any new provider would almost certainly need to keep the current staff.

He also said the level of service would unlikely change, because of all the state mandates on such a facility.

Charvella isn't convinced service wouldn't suffer.

"If the margins are so thin, then a private company is going to pay more attention to the bottom line rather than patient care," Charvella said.

If the county did sell or lease the facility, Gsell said the local government would still have a substantial cost burden associated with its ongoing operation. The county would still pay more than $1.6 million in social services, such as its share of Medicaid payments, to keep the facility open. The consultant will be asked what the ongoing costs to the county will be with any of the possible options.

Chris Charvella
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Someday the folks in charge will remember that the PEOPLE that they always characterize as 'taxpayers' actually expect some return for the taxes they pay. Some things are bigger than taxes and taking care of senior citizens who may not be able to afford costly private facilities is one of them. Wake up Mr. Gsell and company, the people of Genesee County won't forget this.
Bryant Tyson
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Wow, how many tax paying citizens work for or are cared for at the county home? Now how many taxpaying citizens use the airport? A few wealthy citizens could drive a few more miles for a place to keep there toys. Instead of putting that expense on the rest of us. How about selling the airport and put that budget toward the home.
Lorie Longhany
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Bryant makes a good point.
william tapp
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we need our County nursing home. Bryant does makes a good point. and don't forget we the people can vote you jerks out of office. be cause we know politicians lie.
Charlie Mallow
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County government should not be trying to make up for the failings of our national health care system by running what should be a private business.
Howard B. Owens
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I'm not sure Bryant makes good point. If he does, then the government should get out of the freeway/roadway/Thruway business as well. There's really no comparison between a government agency running a public transportation facility and the government running a health care/retirement agency. I believe Jay Gsell told me there were only two such county-run facilities in New York. Personally, I don't know if it should be sold or not. I'm curious what the study uncovers. I'm still confused though as to why it shouldn't be an option and part of a comprehensive study on what to do with the facility? People seem to be mixing "it's going to be sold" with "maybe we should look at selling it." Those are two entirely different issues with a lot of complexity in the middle.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Charlie Mallow on January 5, 2010 - 7:54am County government should not be trying to make up for the failings of our national health care system by running what should be a private business. Good point, Charlie. Now, please give us your take on what should happen to those who can't afford (for whatever reason) to be in a private nursing home?
Kelly Hansen
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Having a close relative who lives in the GCNH, I must say that I am undecided on a potential sale. Having visited the three nursing homes in Batavia, I must tell you that without hesitation, the privately owned one is the one which I was unwilling to consider placing my loved one in. The people were pleasant enough, but the work that is needed in order to make the facility even close to being what the residents have at the county home or the VA would probably cost millions. The aides who work 1 on 1 with the residents at the county home are underpaid, understaffed and under appreciated. They still do a fabulous job with what they have to work with. This is probably the case with many aides at other nursing homes as well. Would private maintain quality care AND see that the building is not let go to disrepair? How could a study provide that information? It would be impossible. It is like me trying to decide to sell my home and hope that the future owners would be able to maintain it to my own standards. That is where the concern lies. I'm not sure anyone really thinks that the county should be in the nursing home business. It is the unknown that people are most worried about. As the baby boomers continue to age, more and more will be seeking quality skilled nursing facilities down the road. If living in Batavia and your only choice is a smelly and run-down private nursing home, or our county home, which do you think you would choose? The VA home (very nice) has strict requirements and most people who are younger are not a vet or married to a vet who saw wartime action. It would help if those who comment would consider visiting the nursing homes in the county -- beyond a drive by -- and with a bit of empathy, consider the fact that if you lived in a nursing home (a place no one sets as a final goal) and your final years held little security - maybe, just maybe - you'd be very concerned about what is left of your final days. _______________________________ Here is a page where the four local nursing homes are rated - and mind you - quality of care can be considered good even if the place is a dump - but a safe dump. http://nursinghomes.nyhealth.gov/browse_search.php?range=15&rt=14020&for... If you notice, under the complaints tab, here is the line up: Batavia Nursing Home, LLC: Complaints received per 100 occupied beds: 79.4 - state average: 24.4 Genesee County Nursing Home: Complaints received per 100 occupied beds: 11.6 LeRoy Village Green Residential HC Facility, Inc: Complaints received per 100 occupied beds: 14.7 Western NY Veterans State Home: Complaints received per 100 occupied beds: 46.3 This isn't a black, white or gray issue. It is an issue focused green - the almighty tax dollar. When decisions are made on the nursing home, we must be responsible to all parties. If it goes private and there are limited medicaid beds available, our local, infirm, and life-long taxpayers will be shipped out of the area like unwanted cargo.
Peter O'Brien
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You can't afford private nursing homes, then you do the best you can with what family you have to take care of you. There is no reason that I should be footing the bill so Great Grandma can be waited on hand and foot.
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On a national leval we are letting the govermemt take over the failing health care system. How is that private? We are going to be paying for the care of you ageing baby boomers real soon one way or anouther. How would you like to be cared for county, state, or national leavel. Where do you think you will recive the best care. Take a walk through the VA home and the county home where would you like to spend the rest of your life? How many county run airports are in New York? If our airport is public transportation, what public are being transported? Where do I book a flight to NYC through our airport?
Charlie Mallow
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Bea, what do other people who live in counties without government run nursing homes do? I understand there is a major problem with our health care system in this country. For that reason, I like the idea of a Canadian or British system here. That is the fight you should be making. This Band-Aid approach of our local county government running a nursing home is not the answer.
The whole reason why my wife and I moved back to WNY was to take care of her grandparents. That's what families do. That being said, my wife's grandfather was a WWII vet, built his house from the ground up, raised four kids in that house and on an income that would be considered lower middle class, yet still found a way to save enough money so that the are cared for. If that money were ever to run out, we would gladly take them in. I'm not against older people and I realize that it is expensive to grow old in this country, but why can someone who was in a single income family do it and so many can't? Why is it that we can run to protect this population so fast and spurn those who have done well? When did it become morally wrong to be accountable for ourselves? I don't understand Bryant's point actually. Those people you so quickly attack are paying the difference in tax dollars, so that a nursing home can even exist. I would like just one liberal to tell me why it's ok that I get up everyday and commute two hours after working twelve hours, so that others can sit at home and do absolutely nothing? I would one of you to tell me why it's ok that I have to make lunches for my kids while others can have them for free? Just one of you tell me how I can have my healthcare, taxes and expenses go up a total of 12% of my take home pay with no raise in this economy, yet unions can complain about a 2% raise while they are getting healthcare for life? Just one of you...
Kelly Hansen
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Phil, I empathize with your situation and appreciate your clarity. Just one question: The grandparents saved up enough money to be cared for and you would be willing to take them in. What if you could not physically take care of their needs any longer? What if they were non-ambulatory, incontinent and unresponsive? Nursing homes are skilled nursing facilities. Even if your home had a ramp, was wheelchair accessible, etc. - would you stock up on a hoyer lift, wheelchair accessible shower, equipment for breathing treatments, suction equipment in case of aspiration while eating, geriatric chair when they are no longer able to be in a wheelchair and 24 hour full-time care required? Nurses and aides are pretty expensive to have in your home. BTW, I'm with you on your last paragraph. "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." --Thomas Jefferson "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." --Thomas Jefferson
Kelly, Of course all of that would be difficult. I never claimed it wouldn't be. Yes I would take them in without question even though it would put hardship on me. Yes I would alter my home and if I could afford it put in whatever they needed. Although there are plenty of families in this country that cannot afford that and make do the best they can. I am not against the nursing home, just against how so many people will defend them while ripping those who have worked hard for "toys" as it was so politley put. To the one point you made about not being able to care for them, I see that. I am younger, so that was never an issue, but I guess where I am coming from is this...my wife's grandfather planned for his future on what translates in today's worth to lower middle class. I am just confussed on why if someone like him can do it, so many can't? He paid his taxes, worked hard and yes, even recieves his social security. He is not rich by any means, but he did what needed to be done. That's just my take, Kelly. Good quotes by the way...how true!
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Phil, I'm not sure how you managed to make this about the school lunch program, unions and welfare; I'll remind you that this is a singular issue and completely unrelated to any of those things. The Home is a skilled nursing facility and while I don't doubt for a minute that you would happily take in you elderly family members, I will remind the people here that most individuals are not equipped with the skills or the money necessary to care for many of the illnesses that effect the elderly. The home exists for these people, they offer a skilled nursing staff and excellent facilities to all County residents in need for just a few dollars a month on your tax bill. What sort of return can we expect for the money we pay in taxes? How many services will be eliminated without lowering the tax levy do we have to suffer before we realize that having a fire sale on County responsibilities is pointless and counterproductive? I will not let the teabagger society redirect and obfuscate here.
Peter O'Brien
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Phil, you always express my views much more eloquently than I can And Chris, teabagger is just a new term for Conservative. We never went away, the politicians left us. We are the majority in this country (at least as far as self descriptions go)
Bea McManis
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Phil, that two hour commute is not new. I commuted for years. For the record, I also stayed with my Mom 24/7 for a few years before she passed. Not everyone has that option. Not every situation is the same. Some had savings; others pensions; others investments that were lost. What is the option for those who don't have family to care for them. I'm looking for the distractors to come up with concrete solutions for those who won't be able to afford private care when the time comes. For those without family. As far as great grandma being waited on hand and foot. Is that the popular complaint among you who don't believe that the elderly deserves affordable care?
Peter O'Brien
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Bea, come up with a solution that doesn't involve my money for your problem. Thats my issue. Its my money not yours and should not be use so you can live longer and take more.
No Chris, the people on this blog made it about that. It's the first thing that we do here. We go after people and their "toys". We attack those who work hard, prosper and save. That is a great question what can we expect for our taxes? Every year they go and my family and I get less and less! So good question, what can I expect? And don't you dare call me a teabegger, sir. I never made single comment on the sale of this building, just those who so easily attack others that have worked for things and then demonized for it. I'm glad you found an issue to fight for, but some of us are just trying to struggle to pay our own taxes and wonder what we get for all of our hard work!
I am a conservative and libertarian. Keep your little terms to yourself Thank you.
Lynn Knoop
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Howard, Mr Gsell is incorrect if he told you there are only two such County owned facilities in NYS. Just in our region alone we have the Erie County Home, Wyoming County Home, Genesee County Home, Livingston County Nursing Home, Orleans County Nursing Home and TWO Cattaraugus County Nursing Homes. It is a documented fact that public health facilities run more sufficiently than their private counter parts and the employees receive similar benefits. The airport is not equivalent to those in Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls, It is barely the size of Prior Aviation and that is a privately owned airport. How many county residents actually fly out of the airport as opposed to travelling to Buffalo or Rochester? I would have to say not too many.
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Phil, you were the only one here to mention School lunch, unions and welfare. I don't care about your 'toys,' I don't want to take them from you or anyone else. I'll say it again, some things are bigger than taxes. A government's function is to protect its citizens and provide for them the necessary things that they cannot provide for themselves; this is one of those things.
Bea, A lot of people have a commute, that wasn't my point in the slightest. I want to see what this study shows and I want a guarentee that if the facility is sold that the savings are returned to the residents. As far as not being able to afford healthcare? Are you kidding me? I am a 29 year old adult with two kids and it gets harder for me to afford it! That's a great question Bea, How can we ALL afford it!?!?!? What happens if I lose my job or get hurt? I have to save if that happens, make arrangements if I die with my family or am incapcitated. I have to be responsible for myself and my family beacuse the Government is "HELPING" me! They are just taking EVERY LAST penny that I have and telling me that it's my patriotic duty! Seriously. I want evry person to be able to afford Healthcare, but this new bill sucks. Let the study happen. If they determine that we are currently doing it better than anyone else can than fine. For the record, I did NOT make the Grandmother comment, so don't lump that on me thank you very much. I happen to love my grandparents and take care of them.
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For those of you who declare the conservatives out-number the liberals... why then do we have Obama in office and a majority in the House? I am sick and tired of politics taking precedent over the residents in the GCNH. We have over 200 residents that will be kicked out by a private sector owner. Yes, kicked out because the owner only accepts so many "poor" residents. Do you know what statistics say happens to those residents who are transferred? Many of them will die within a year of leaving the facility. Need proof? Look up the article "Relocation of the Elderly" by Nicholas G. Castle Hey! But who cares? The Home will go private! (Did I mention you will still be paying taxes anyway? Just to the private owner!)
Your right I sure did, because the first thing that comes out of every liberal's mouth is what everyone else should give up. I asked a question as part of a series of comments that were made. I don't think it should defuse your precious argument. I have every right to respond to the things that I see. As far more important than taxes statement. Who gets to make that judgement? Why does the government or you for that matter get to tell me what's more important? Maybe I care more about the well being of my kids and family. Why do I have such a small voice? Why? That's my question. You say that nothing should change with the home and I say that we should see what other options are there! Did you ever think for a moment that just maybe if the government would stop taxing the hell out of us that maybe more of us could SAVE more?
Chris Charvella
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Phil, you're not taxed any more than I am. People's lives are more important than a few bucks a month. The current and future residents of the Home have payed taxes their whole lives to support the place, are their tax dollars worth less than yours? Should they expect less from what they put in because you don't feel like paying just like they did?
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Phil...good luck. If opinions like yours actually materialize into reality, then the moral compass of conservatism has been totally destroyed. I am not a liberal as you like to pin on me. I was a registered Republican until this past election cycle. Once they ran McCain I jumped ship. I am a moderate Democrat and yes, the union rep for the County. I also worked as a CNA for many, many years and I am a strong advocate for geriatric rights in nursing homes! Perhaps you need to read the Book of Solomon in the bible. One baby two mothers and your ready to slice it in half. No questions asked. Good luck and good fortune to you and yours!
Excuse me Lynn, Don't you dare tell me to read my Bible. I have given more of my time and my money to help others than you know! The problem with all of this is simple. MY CHOICE! You all get to make my choice for me! Who are any of you to tell me what I should or should'nt think. You have no idea what I have given for or to. I am a Christian. I have given more of myself to help those in need and I wasn't paid for it! No Chris I'm not, but maybe I don't make as much as you. Maybe those few bucks that get spent without any say that I have is important to me! Isn't it amazing how the world is compared to you and your wallet's comfort because it's your issue? Lynn, I am a youth advocate and I have watched those budgets get cut to nothing. The GCNH has ran in the red for years. I see NOTHING wrong with the study. I NEVER, repeat NEVER said it should or should not be sold. Maybe you should read Matthew 7:1..."Do Not Judge Others.."
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Ok, when have I supported corporate welfare? While I support killing those who would kill us and doing so away from our civilians, I don't support general policing of the globe. Nurses and Doctors are going to feel the pinch soon anyways because of the death of the baby boomers, nothing can be done about that. Tony, nice job grouping people together and then saying things that aren' true about them on the whole. When that grouping involves race, we call that racism. You are doing the same thing on a political basis. Good job! My lost tax ocntribution wouldn't be felt nearly as bad if the governments that I support (monetarily) were not so huge to begin with.
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I just deleted one comment for a a clear personal attack. There are some others that are questionable, for sure. This conversation is drifting further and further into the personal and moving away from the topic at hand. If you find yourself characterizing other people, then you're moving away from a productive conversation. Please stick to the topic and not demean people just because they hold an opinion you don't like. If you think the opinion is stupid or ill informed, keep that thought to yourself and try to refute their position without making it about the person.
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Phil, let's be honest with ourselves, you don't want anyone to make your choice for you but you're willing to make choices for senior citizens. It works both ways and I really think we need to remember that.
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Posted by Peter O'Brien on January 5, 2010 - 12:31pm Tony, nice job grouping people together and then saying things that aren' true about them on the whole. When that grouping involves race, we call that racism. You are doing the same thing on a political basis. Good job! -- Are you saying you aren't registered to vote? Because the rules of doing so determine that one must join a group at that time - none of which I have created or defined, the rules of registering to vote I had no hand in creating. If you aren't registered to vote, then why are you even commenting? If you are, then what am I guilty of, that you haven't self-defined yourself as? "teabagger is just a new term for Conservative. We never went away, the politicians left us. We are the majority in this country"
Howard B. Owens
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I'm registered to vote and I'm not part of any group.
Tony Ferrando
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Sure you are. You're part of the group that selected Independent. And if there was ever any organization at that level, the power that you wield would be immense. Like atheists and other non-believers, the largest minority in the country without political power (at least that hasn't organized it into power).
Bea McManis
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It is too bad that Tony's post was removed. He made a valid point. I didn't work the entire time I took care of my mother. Not every family has someone who can or will take that much time away from work. If it ever reached the point where she required specialized care or special equipment, I certainly didn't have the medical qualifications or the means to supply it.
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No. I'm not Independent. In New York political terms I'm "blank." I'm not affiliated with Independents or Libertarians or Working Family or any third party. I'm completely non-aligned both in registration and attitude.
Peter O'Brien
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This is off topic Tony, Back to the nursing home. The only public use of money for healthcare I support is the VA. And it needs to be overhauled. Other than that, they made their choices, I shouldn't have to cover the slack.
Chris Charvella
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Yes Peter, they made the choice to pay taxes for 65+ years with the expectation that the County Nursing home would be there for them should they need it. Once again, these arguments work both ways, you don't want others choosing for you, but you're willing to make choices for them; the logical disconnect is extraordinary.
Charlie Mallow
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Chris, we usually agree but, I have trouble understanding your position on this. Since Phil is probably driving to work right now, let me ask a few questions. First I think what he would say is that you are the one trying to make the choice by attempting to block the study. How do you know a privately run nursing home would not be better? What evidence do you have that a private company running the nursing home would not be better for elderly people?
Howard B. Owens
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(I'm not saying anything about veterans here, only asking a logically consistent question. Nor am I advocating anything on health care, just saying ... ) Peter, how can you justify special treatment for one group (veterans) and not others (anybody else). Once you make an allowance for any special circumstance (say, service to country), you open the door, logically, to any other special circumstance (say, being under employed).
Tony Ferrando
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Sorry - my wireless dropped as I clicked save, so... what I had said in not as many words, is we're just debating the symantecs of the word. Independent, unaffliated... either way, you've given up your ability to vote in primaries. However, I think that both major national parties need people like you - because there are a lot - of the mentality that they don't agree with the party wholesale. It's those people that keep extremists in check and bring parties back towards the middle. As you ask though, back to the topic...
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Regarding the sale of the nursing home. If it is sold, it may be sold to an entity out of state. Do you honestly believe that the care and comfort of those in Genesee Co. will be their first and foremost interest? Do you honestly believe that you will see your taxes go down because the nursing home is sold? This is a "but for the grace of God, go I" situation. No one knows what the future holds. While some may feel they sit on a higher level than the rest of us, and that they may never be in a situation where they might need the services of the county home, the sad truth is it may happen. Your savings can be wiped out by illness. What happens then? Your insurance company can rescind your policy, then what? You may be in need of medical care or equipment that no one in your family can provide, then what? This shouldn't be a political issue. It is a humanitarian issue. It isn't discussed just for those who are currently facing the possibility of the safety net the nursing home provides, but for those of you of the next generation who may someday require the specialized care available. The belief that it can't happen to you or that you have provided enough for yourself doesn't take into account that life has a way of throwing curves. Are you willing to take the risk that one won't be tossed at you?
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Charlie, I was just pointing out to Peter and Phil that they are attempting to make choices for others while saying that they won't let others choose for them. I'm fine with making these choices because doing so will provide a necessary service to people who are unable to provide it for themselves. I'm not attempting to block the study either, I'm attempting to get the legislature to take sale off the table. If teh goal is to save the County some money then the focus of the study should be on how to create greater efficiency within the current structure while keeping the home public and available to those who cannot afford private care. If no money can be saved without it being detrimental to the quality of care then the county should look elsewhere to save a buck or two. Sale of the nursing home should not be an option. However, I've heard from the horses mouth that sale is the goal. As a matter of fact, I've even discussed with a member of the legislature how much the Certificate of Need would be worth. I've been downwind of this manure pile for too long now and the smell is starting to get to me. As far as what I know about the public home being better than a private home I would urge you to look at the ratings. I would also urge you to remember what this is all about: Quality care for those who cannot afford, for whatever reason, the costs of a private nursing facility.
Julie Morales
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“Thats my issue. Its my money not yours and should not be use so you can live longer and take more.” Wow, that’s rude even for a troll. You must have the antidote for aging. You’ll be there sooner than you think.
Howard B. Owens
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Chris, what if the only way to save money is to do away with public employees at the nursing home -- what then? What if the major area to save cost is to reduce the payout for benefits to union employees? Would you support (if it's even legally possible) to de-unionize the facility? I ask that question because it's my impression is that the only real cost concern area for the county is public employees vs. private sector employees. So let's stipulate: A public run facility is going to provide better care and treatment than a private one. Let's just assume for a moment that's true. Would you support every measure possible to reduce personnel cost, including getting the union out of the facility, in order to keep the facility in public hands?
Chris Charvella
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Yes. I suppose there should be a reality check here though. As long as the county owns the home the CSEA will be there. If the home is public then the workers will be public employees, if they choose to unionize (which is their right) then their union will be CSEA. So I suppose the question is moot.
Beth Kinsley
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Phil's position on this is surprising to me since he was quite an advocate for GCASA on another site. So Phil - you'll help drug addicts (many from other counties) but to hell with the elderly from our own county?
Bea McManis
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Posted by Beth Kinsley on January 5, 2010 - 3:26pm Phil's position on this is surprising to me since he was quite an advocate for GCASA and for Medicaid money being used for drug addicts and alcoholics on another site. So Phil - you'll help drug addicts (many from other counties) but to hell with the elderly from our own county? When Medicaid money helps support one's lifestyle, it is easy to advocate for it's use.
bud prevost
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My question- what did the elderly folks do 100 years ago? I'm not trying to be a wise guy, I really would like to know. Did Genesee County have a facility back then? How was it funded? Were people generally grouped into the "poorhouse"? If so, whatever happened to that concept?
Chris Charvella
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Actually Bud, the progenitor of the county nursing home WAS the county poorhouse out in Bethany. I can get some historical links if you want them. I'm sure Lorie has them at her fingertips.

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