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May 16, 2013

Imagine what might have been ...

A while back we got a telephone call from a reader of this column wanting to know why we had not written a column in support of Otsego Manor continuing to be owned and operated by Otsego County. And even though we have followed the debate over this issue in the newspaper, we readily admitted we did not feel we knew enough about the situation to take a stand.

But we assured our caller we would try to learn more about this issue, something which we have done.

As far as we can tell, selling Otsego Manor is an issue which is driven by the financial reality of the situation. It is our understanding that the total cost to run the Manor is something in the neighborhood of $366 per day, per resident. Yet reimbursements for care are seemingly much less. Medicare, which covers, if we understand it correctly, only rehab care, pays the most at $360 per day while Medicaid reimbursement rate is $190 per day. Private pay residents are charged $250 per day. And while the county is eligible for money through the federal IGT program, there is no guarantee as to what, if any, amount may be paid through the IGT program. For example in 2012, an amount for IGT of $3.2 million was budgeted but only $2,348,748 was received. And finally when all the other revenue for the Manor is tallied, it falls, as we understand it, to the county to provide the rest of the revenue necessary for the operation of the Manor.

At this point it would seem that in order to continue to maintain the Manor, the county would need to significantly increase its revenue stream. However, the ability of the county to increase its revenues is probably easier said than done. And unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the county will be able to increase revenue without some improvement in the economy of this area. Of course, we tend to think that a healthy economy is incumbent upon having a healthy business climate. And while we are ever hopeful that the business climate in our area is improving we are not certain that is the case.

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