Letter: Care shouldn’t be subsidizedThis letter is in response to County Supervisor Steve Hermsen’s letter to the editor dated April 2. Good for you Mr. Hermsen, I applaud your courage to speak out about Supervisor Marzolf’s outrageously poor decision to spend county taxpayer monies to fund 15 private pay nursing home patients to the tune of $300,000.
By: Mary Rivard, Hammond,
To the Editor:
This letter is in response to County Supervisor Steve Hermsen’s letter to the editor dated April 2. Good for you Mr. Hermsen, I applaud your courage to speak out about Supervisor Marzolf’s outrageously poor decision to spend county taxpayer monies to fund 15 private pay nursing home patients to the tune of $300,000.
You are exactly right, Mr. Hermsen, that decision and that $300,000 was not his to give. You’re also correct that many questions should and no doubt will be asked. If you had not come forth with your letter the public would have never known the antics of “The Marzolf and Committee Folly.”
Mr. Marzolf and his committee were not so giving at budget time when they took away from the County Highway Department’s budget; he was not so giving when he took away from the Sheriff’s budget and all the other departmental budgets they siphoned funds from.
Now we find out he has given away $300,000 in incentive money so 15 private pay patients would not leave the county nursing home. I cannot comprehend how or why this was allowed. Are Mr. Marzolf and his committee aware that the county nursing home needs to turn a profit to pay the bills? How do they expect to pay wages, keep up building maintenance, feed the patients, offer therapy by favoring 15 patients with $300,000 in tax money.
Do they not know what a private pay patient is? A private pay patient is a patient who has the means to pay for their stay in the nursing home and is not eligible for any public assistance programs such as Medical Assistance because those patients have assets that allow them to pay for their care while in a nursing home; when those assets run out they can apply for Medical Assistance.
By Mr. Marzolf initiating such a generous precedence (funded by us, the taxpayers) how many more private pay individuals will be given the same perk and at what additional cost to the St. Croix County taxpayer? Is Mr. Marzolf going to cut the same deal with Medical Assistance or Medicare patients by allowing them a lower rate or offering an extended time of coverage so they won’t leave the county nursing home?
Why did these private pay patients see the need to leave the county nursing home? Was it because of the higher rates, were they unhappy with their care, did they want to get closer to where they previously lived? Nursing home patients don’t just get up one morning and decide they want to move elsewhere.
I don’t see much business savvy shown by Mr. Marzolf and his committee. Isn’t the reason you run a business, and the nursing home industry is a big business, to make a profit. If you keep robbing the piggy bank (profits) your business will not survive and that is becoming apparently clear why the county is continually begging for more taxpayer dollars to fund the operation of the nursing home. How much more of the tab can we as taxpayers be expected to pay? Because of today’s economics everyone owning a home is strapped by higher costs all around and Mr. Marzolf wants us to keep kicking in more and more to keep the county nursing afloat – when is enough enough?
Mr. Marzolf, you need to play by the rules. Who are you to offer lower rates to a private pay patient who can afford to pay for his/her care and then hand off the uncollected cost of care onto the taxpayer? If you are allowing private pay patients to pay lower rates aren’t you defrauding the public, and causing deficit spending? Didn’t you and your committee negotiate annul rates to cover your budget?
There are state and federal standards and guidelines a nursing home has to follow and the county is not exempt. How do you explain to Medicare and Medical Assistance patients why they aren’t entitled to the same sweet deal?
I would suspect Mr. Marzolf, you and your posse haven’t approached Medical Assistance and Medicare patients because these are state and federally funded programs paying for these clients, so why alert them to the fact the St. Croix County Nursing Home would be willing to offer them lower rates so those patients will not leave the county facility.
What would Medical Assistance and Medicare say about you allowing 15 of your private pay patients to pay less than the established rates and Medical Assistance and Medicare can continue to pay the negotiated rates? There are lots of legal questions and ramifications that your committee and you have implicated and tied yourselves to. I, for one, question the legality of what you have done. In essence you have cooked the books, defrauded the St. Croix County taxpayers and caused deficit spending!
There are several nursing homes in the St. Croix County area that are privately owned and are now probably wondering how you can play favoritism and manipulate patient pay rates. This just doesn’t past the stink test.
On another note, Mr. Marzolf it is not a miracle that the county nursing home received a citation-free survey. To get a citation free survey is called “doing your job,” it’s not a miracle and it’s not magic. Everyone who has/or does work in a nursing home facility is expected to give 110 percent everyday to their patients and to their employer.
Absolutely, nursing homes are needed but not poorly run ones and not ones run at the expense of the St. Croix County taxpayers. There are several finely run nursing homes in this area. They too have received citation free state surveys, they have dedicated staff, they have client bases made up of private pay, Medical Assistance and Medicare.
Those private nursing homes establish, structure and negotiate patient rates annually to support their budgets; however, they are not allowed to make deals regarding patient rates nor do they provide miracles. Both of my parents lived out their last years in a nursing home setting and when the bill came at the end of the month there were no discounted rates, no pay later or pay what you can and the rest is forgiven because we can find someone else to pay what you can’t.
Wake up Mr. Marzolf and committee your golden goose may have just flown the coop.
Thank you Mr. Hermsen for speaking out and standing up for the taxpayers you have my support and appreciation.