Friday, July 08, 2011

The Chicago Tribune Story on Nursing Homes Merits a Read by Local Property Tax Payers

I thought it was quite interesting that the Chicago Tribune, on Tuesday, July 5, 2011, ran a special page called "FOCUS Nursing Homes", page 7 of section A. The full page article by two Tribune reporters is titled, " County-Run Nursing Homes Now a Luxury? Lake County moves to privatize operation of revenue-consuming Winchester House".

In comparing this article with what has been written by any JS reporter or the JSEB, nothing was ever reported that Peoria County started picking up the tab for FICA, IMRF, etc.., starting with $532,000.00 in 2002 and reaching $1,220,000.00 by 2009. That amount deducted from BW"s cost to operate, along with the quarter cent property tax increase collected for BW since 2004, has totaled approximately $20,000,000.00 in property taxes. Just to support the old BW through December 31. 2010. including, as stated, all the indirect costs shifted away from BW in 2002.

These figures are all available through County Administration.

Private nursing homes do not have the luxury of collecting taxes. While some clients may complain of lack of service in the private sector, it has never been more than the usual complaint about health care treatment anywhere. There, too, have been lawsuits and complaints about BW with a $10,100 violations fine reported on 5/14/2009 and a $300,000 BW employee lawsuit settled at about the same time If BW were to be sold, certainly the county could pressure the state to enforce all laws of care and treatment that are on the books.

While Lake County, former employer of Patrick, is debating selling their county nursing home, Peoria has long been preparing to build an approximate $49 million (includes construction, demolition, site preparation, 9% contingency plus an estimated $1.5 million for furniture and equipment). upscale nursing home with a lower capacity of 217 beds. I understand the projected figure quoted by Patrick in writing on 7/29/10, of $6.6 million for site purchase, demolition and site preparation, has been considerably reduced??

The cost of borrowing the greater bulk of the money with a 30 year payback, estimated interest to be paid to the health fund on money borrowed from that account and an estimated 5/ 1/2% interest on the greater bulk of the borrowing means that if the cost of Medicaid and even Medicare must be paid back by the locals, the probable cost of property taxpayer support could rise even more.

For possibly up to 30 years.

Adding my concern is that it is indicated that Peoria County is going to run into a deficit for 2011, a rumor that a new private Alzheimer facility will be built at the vacant NW corner of Sheridan and Northmoor and most importantly, will the now low Medicaid payments may be further reduced by a near bankrupt state. Also, myself and many other believe that Caterpillar will not chose Illinois when it replaces it's now outdated corporate headquarters. Also, a rumor that Caterpillar has asked that it's property taxes be substantially reduced and that fact that property tax collections are still on the decline in Peoria County and may decline further.

I quote from an article in July's IB. "Over the years, I've heard more than one frustrated manager say, "They need to get on board or get out." The article concludes, 'This way of thinking fails to harness the tremendous potential and energy that resistance can spark'. (P. 48) For some of us there needs to be more facts than are presented and statements about "safety nets" and "competing with the private sector" with their own tax dollars..

I also note that Forbes magazines listed, in it's July Issue, it's 50 best Metros for business. The only city in Illinois out of 50 best Metros, was Bloomington, Illinois.

If Winchester House is sold or BW is sold, where would the 165 Medicaid clients go? Same place they went in Sangamon County (and Tazewell County) where there no longer are County run Nursing Home. Or to rapidly growing home care which clients prefer, a study showed that only 1% of the elderly would prefer to die in nursing homes. And the all the local nursing homes, none of whom had waiting lists 8 months ago.

The risk on BW may be greater than the new downtown hotel expansion and the long term deficit of the PRM. ($500,000 a year deficit is projected by the PRM prospectus") and little has been reported on raising the PRM $10 million gap in the Endowment Fund.

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