Friday, July 22, 2011

Kaergard No Better Than McDonald on Getting Bel-Wood Facts Right

Today's JS article, "Citizens Like Bel-Wood Plan" by ex-JSEB member and now a reporter, Chris Kaergard wrote, "The new nursing home (214 beds) is planned to have a capacity of 80 Alzheimer patients. The remainder of the 214 bed home will be dedicated to Medicare patients of short term or rehab stays as well as long time residents.

Facts: the remainder of the building will be for Medicaid patients with a handful of Medicare patients. The July census at the present 300 bed Bel-Wood showed 199 beds occupied by only 19 Medicare with a large majority of 151 MEDICAID patients.

Jan 14, 2010, or just 18 months ago the Bel-Wood census was 247; 175 Medicaid beds, a shrinkage in 18 months of 48 filled beds.

The 2/3 filled old Bel-Wood is now costing Peoria County property taxpayers over $3,200,000.00 a year. What will the cost be when the new luxury county owned home has 80 special care Alzheimer beds, filled with a similar percentage or higher of Medicaid patients who already have most of their costs borne by taxpayers?

The JS reporters keep leaving out all the costs of the new B-W. The figure they quote are "construction" costs. Left out is the cost of asbestos removal and demolition of the old existing building plus site preparation, land acquistion and some contingency costs.

Total cost of this luxury (safety net) project including the 30 year bond will be closer to $70 million than the $48 million usually appearing in the JS. I quote an article by McDonald on 5/7/09, a short 26 months ago, "The new facility would cost between roughly $26.3 and $29.2 million including an Alzheimer facility".

Quite a jump from a top of $29 million to approximately $50 million.

The JS, most County Board members and administration has done it's best to mis-lead the taxpayers as to the actual cost to serve approximately 150-160 Medicaid patients.
I will mention again that a fair sized number of B-W patients come from other counties, mainly Tazewell. No property tax support from these families. Although one family member said he owns a business in Peoria and pays property taxes to Peoria County.

There has been little comment by the public on this project. We will see when the "real" property taxes start hitting Peoria County residents.

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