County Manager Daniel Palmer has said that if the county continues on its present course with the money the home is hemorrhaging, closure would be a definite option.
“It becomes unsustainable and at what point do you decide that you are going to stay in the business or completely shut the doors,” he said.
With a sale, the county receives at least some financial return. It will also have controls in place over the facility to keep employees in their jobs and keep a percentage of beds reserved for county residents or low-income individuals. That seems a far better option than having no facility at all.
We understand that this is a tough, controversial issue and that there are a lot of people who are invested in the outcome. Supervisors, county employees, nurses, staff, patients, seniors and families are all invested in this drama playing out before them.
At the same time, it seems the most vocal opponents of the sale have been county employees who fear that privatization could impact their pay and benefits, or, worse — cost them their job altogether.
While we cannot blame these employees for voicing those concerns, the supervisors cannot allow that to sway their vote, and we fear further dialogue in settings such as public hearings would be dominated by more of the same.
The board of supervisors was elected to look out for county taxpayers as a whole, not a select few — it is time they step up and make the difficult decisions they were elected to make.
If it is deemed through studying other private facilities that the quality of care will not suffer and that privatization will save taxpayers millions annually, then the decision is a no-brainer.
And, in the final analysis, privatization is a much better option for those same employees and the patients they care for than not having a facility here at all.
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