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April 3, 2014 - 7:58am

Today's Poll: Should the county sell the Nursing Home to a private company?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Jeff Allen
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I think it is an unavoidable reality. According to the report I referenced in the other post, there were 33 county nursing homes left for the 62 counties as of 2012. We know Orleans Co. went private this year and likely others since the report so we are at less than half of the counties in NY with public nursing homes. Of late they are dropping at an increasing rate and even with heroic efforts by community action groups, it seems to be the inevitable trend. As Howard pointed out yesterday, what else do you cut? food?, medicine?, heat? Public nursing homes are operating at alarming deficits and there is little attempt on the part of the state or federal government to either pay their bills or bail them out. These facilities are simply at a breaking point fiscally and I'm not convinced that it is due to mismanagement, greed, or incompetence. There are unavoidable costs associated with public nursing homes that make profitability impossible. The notion that we must take care of our elderly is right and just, but we have to face the reality that it is likely no longer feasibly done solely by our tax dollars. While it may be difficult to entertain the notion of rolling over and letting it happen, perhaps our best efforts might be in ensuring that we get the very best alternative to our county nursing home as opposed to losing it altogether.

Lori Silvernail
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Why are publicly owned nursing homes less cost effective than privately owned ones? Will a privately owned accept fewer patients who receive Medicaid or something? Reimbursement regulations should be the same for both I would think.

Didn't the therapies get outsourced already? Those workers aren't county employees anymore. Where the heck is the money going?

And I agree with whoever posted elsewhere on The Batavian, why no outrage when GCC asks for and receives money over and over again?

I'm asking these questions because I honestly don't know what the answers are!

Jason Post
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Privately owned nursing home staff will probably have a leaner benefits package for starters, possibly lower pay.

Accepting less Medicaid patients might happen too. From Howard's earlier article, they lose $80-100 per period on every Medicaid patient. I imagine they'd either get higher reimbursements or simply refuse to accept any new Medicaid patients.

Jason Fetterly
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If the county home is privatized, then it will become just like the one on state street. Where patients are treated as though they are a burden. Where they are neglected and abused on a regular basis. Where the rate of deaths in far too frequent. Where employees won't speak up for fear of retaliation. Where the time clocks are frequently adjusted to STEAL from the employees unless the state inspectors are there. Where people are refused breaks and sometimes even lunches while others sit and do nothing. Is this really what we want? These are people. They are not in any way deserving of the treatment they receive at the already privatized nursing home. These folks need to be cared for and protected. Most cannot fend for themselves. They deserve our respect and have a right to dignified treatment. For those in favor of privatizing the genesee county nursing home, you seriously need to re-evaluate the situation and think of these people. If your loved ones were in their shoes, would you want to throw them to the merciless wolves of a private entity? Seriously look into how the treatment of these folks is, and then make a decision. I honestly don't care if it costs more. I would gladly pay higher taxes in order to ensure people are being treated properly. If after you look into the county home versus our current privately owned here in batavia, and you still think it is a good idea to sell out, you my friend are an ignorant fool. You are a heartless waste of precious oxygen.

Mark Brudz
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Batavia Health Care on State Street has been under new management for over 5 years. While it is accurate that the previous management was terrible and borderline cruel, the facility has turned all of that around. My mother was there when she was Diagnosed with Terminal Leukemia. We were very apprehensive because of the history there, we were totally surprised, every patient gets care, no one is left laying there, and the staff was exceptional. Medicare was accepted as payment and if my parents would have been eligible, Medicaid was as well.

The NOW is much different than the THEN

The efficiencies in private nursing homes over publically funded comes largely from supply contracting and retirement benefits, Government retirement benefits are excessive in almost all quarters and purchasing through government channels is largely inflated for a myriad of reasons..

The bottom line, long term care on state street is about 25% less in cost to the patient (I know because we priced it out last year, The care on State street of today is on par with any nursing home public or private. Again I do not deny that the previous management was horrible, but you can go to the VA and see horrible on the same scale.,

Howard B. Owens
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Private nursing homes, if I understood Jay Gsell correctly the other day, are reimbursed at a higher rate for Medicaid, than public nursing homes.

Jeff Allen
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Jason, your argument of patient treatment at public vs private nursing homes is not well founded. In fact our only recent local example of nursing home patient mistreatment came out of the county home in February. That is not to say that the quality of care is better or worse at either. Most of the other employee issues you bring up are addressed by state and federal labor laws Proponents will argue that public employees are better trained. I would argue that you cannot train decency and compassion. If someone mistreats an elderly person, it's not because someone failed to tell them it's wrong to do so, it is wrong period and speaks to the moral and ethical shortcomings of the individual, not the institution. Level of care is mandated by NYS and applies equally to public and private facilities. Quality of care is the responsibility of supervision. How an employee treats a resident is not determined by who signs their paycheck.

Phil Ricci
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Jason,

My Grandmother is currently in care at the Batavia Health Center, and your comments are outdated, irresponsible, and quite frankly idiotic in content and scope.

The staff has been warm, caring and constantly concerned with her care, and while there was a point in time where your plainly uneducated statements may have held sway, they fall flat now.

I would like, for once, an individual who is against a private sale to actually have an intelligible reason for it, instead of the over emotional drivel that finds it way on this site. I will gladly engage in that process, but mindless accusations that are supported with no current data, except "feelings", do not solve real problems.

Bob Harker
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Lori, a government entity has NEVER been run as efficiently as a private one. Never. The most obvious recent example is obamacare.

Bureaucratic impediments, "too many chiefs not enough Indians", no real motivation for efficiency, and a seemingly bottomless pocket book are but a few reasons.

The private sector is profit driven, which by definition requires efficiency. Does this mean lower care standards in a privately run Nursing Home? Absolutely not. NY inspects, audits, and rates all nursing homes at least twice a year. As is the case with the Blossom Nursing Home in Rochester, if sub par care is being given they lock the doors - period.

If anyone can name a single case where a public sector anything was more efficiently than the private sector, please chime in.

Lori Silvernail
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I guess I knew what the basic answer(s) would be, was just checking. My Mom is a resident at GCNH and they run on a skeleton staff, so I figured they'd pretty much cut back as much as they possibly could. While I've always felt that it was "our" nursing home, maybe privatizing it might improve staff/patient ratios.

And thank you to whoever above talked about how important it is to take care of our elderly in the best way possible. Not everyone retires with buckets of money and can afford private care at home. My Mom stayed in her house until we just couldn't take care of her anymore. It's a horrible ending when the body and mind fails and you need 'round the clock care by professionals. I don't wish nursing home life for anyone, it's incredibly sad.

Thanks for all the input.

Lori Silvernail
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Hey Howard... why do I have a "drunk" icon at the top of my post? I saw it when I did my page preview but didn't see any way to get rid of it. I'm not drunk, just full of cauliflower at the moment, lol

Howard B. Owens
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Whatever keystrokes you put together created that ... it's something I've asked our IT guy to get rid of, but we've had other priorities to deal with the past several months.

Lori Silvernail
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Ohhhh, I put the letter s in between parentheses to pluralize the word "answer". Must be that created the drunk thing. It's no big deal to me, just wondered why it happened! Time for a cocktail!

Lori Silvernail
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Doesn't seem to matter WHAT I post, there is always someone who has to give me a thumbs down. Here's the thing... I said nothing in the least that was negative towards anyone. Obviously must be a female, because you have no balls to reveal yourself and explain why every single post of mine deserves your negativity. So to whoever seems to have it out for me, bite me.

C. M. Barons
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It's odd enough that a fragile and sensitive bit of male anatomy might equate to bravery and toughness. ...For a woman to declare that the lack of that dangling appendage makes one inferior. I guess I've seen everything now.

Lori Silvernail
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"It takes balls..." is a very common saying. I'm not buying it that it's something surprising to see. Your suggestion, C.M., that I said it as if males are "inferior" is a real stretch. I just get sick of people hiding behind the thumbs down rather than coming out and explaining what it is that they disagree with. Even in a court of law you get to face your accuser. If a person agrees with someone's post, giving a thumbs up simply prevents duplicate types of posts. Giving a thumbs down means that something that was said opposes your views. I'd rather opposition create discussion. I suppose that would be asking too much of someone who is thumbs down happy.

Do I lose sleep over it? Pffft, of course not. I just think it's lame, especially when there is nothing to disagree with. Then again, maybe the thumbs downer thinks nursing homes are great places to spend the end of your life.

C. M. Barons
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I suggested nothing of the kind; I questioned the relevancy of your gender distinction. I understand your point. I was surprised by the metaphor you employed to make it. I'd be equally surprised by a Chevy enthusiast wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a Mustang.

Lori Silvernail
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Saying, "For a woman to declare that the lack of that dangling appendage makes one inferior" certainly seems to me that you inferred that! Since I can't get inside of your head, it's how I read your comment.

For future reference, anyone who knows me, knows to never be surprised by things I say. I tend not to have a mute button, and my filter doesn't seem to catch things anymore...

Enjoy your day, C.M. Thanks for being (gender neutral) enough to discuss it rather than simply giving the old thumbs down
:-)

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