Selling the Manor is not a solution. The purchaser would be in all likelihood a for-profit corporation. If the new owner were to continue to run the Manor as the county has, it would encounter the same financial impediments. So, how would it turn a profit for its stockholders? Only three choices come to mind. They could cut back on the quality of care (e.g. staff, activities, food quality, medical care, etc.). They could forgo limited government reimbursements and charge much higher rates directly to the residents. Or they could do both. In the end, Otsego Manor would cease to be what we the people of the county intended. It would become an exclusive health care facility for those who can afford to pay top dollar or it would degenerate into a second rate nursing home meeting only minimal standards.
For the more short-sighted board members, sacrificing the quality of health care for our poor and elderly seems to be a fair price to pay for balancing our books. Since balancing the books seems to be their only concern, they refuse to consider more enlightened alternatives such as John Kosmer’s proposal, that are consistent with answering the real question, how do we continue to meet our commitment going forward?
I use the term commitment because that is exactly what it is. A long time ago, the county government, acting on the people’s behalf, took responsibility for assisting the indigent and created what came to be known as the poor house. Since then, it has overseen its evolution into a modern, long-term health care facility that is available to virtually anyone. We the people have come to depend on it. Deciding to sell the Manor does not absolve the county of its moral responsibility. It must provide a viable alternative for most of those who currently occupy its 174 beds and for the future generations who will be deprived of its services. So, what’s the plan?