LETTER: Nursing home can be successfulThe Aug. 6 meeting of the St. Croix County Health and Human Services Board was an event that had to be witnessed. Those with an interest in closing the St. Croix County Nursing Home came prepared with a summary of the costs associated with closing the facility.
To the Editor:
The Aug. 6 meeting of the St. Croix County Health and Human Services Board was an event that had to be witnessed. Those with an interest in closing the St. Croix County Nursing Home came prepared with a summary of the costs associated with closing the facility. The same group failed to produce information requested with regard to indirect costs, applicability of depreciation, the stability of IGT (inter-governmental transfer) funds, appropriated tax levy dollars and the cost contract positions.
Chop from the top should be the rule of fiscal responsibility for St. Croix County. Too often the claim has been made that the expense of the St. Croix County Nursing Home is due to the salary and benefits paid to the workers. It seems an odd argument when compared to the salaries and benefits being paid to administrators, directors and non-represented personnel.
Keep in mind that most county departments do not generate substantial revenue that stays with the county with the exception of the Register of Deeds. Therefore all county departments are funded by the levy. Within that funding are appropriations for the newly adopted pay for performance model.
The problem with pay for performance presents itself when the review of performance is internal and the methodology of performance goals is sketchy. The bright side of pay for performance is you get to keep your job if you meet the goals established. The idea of keeping your job based on performance is not a new concept; however the idea of bonuses or pay upgrades for performance is best left to the private sector especially when the money is from tax dollars.
When the staff of the St. Croix County Nursing Home agreed to give up $550,000 in wages and benefits it must be recognized that the administration, directors and non-represented personal were not part of that equation (these are the same persons who will benefit from the pay for performance model). The persons who could least afford to take cuts were the ones sacrificing in order to ensure the continued care of St. Croix County residents now and in the future. There is no performance model that could evaluate the effective, efficient and loving care that is provided at the St. Croix County Nursing Home.
Closing the nursing home will not reduce the levy and many costs associated to the building and land will continue. The only given is that the five-star care will cease and the security and peace of mind for St. Croix residents will end.
As those who would close the St. Croix County Nursing Home were prepared with a facility closing summary, perhaps they could channel that energy into a business model for the St. Croix County Nursing Home that would allow the facility to operate as a standalone business rather than a county department contributing revenue to fund costs that have no direct bearing on the facility and are not collected from other county departments.
We have elected a county board of supervisors to act in our behalf in matters of county government. We have empowered them to voice our sentiment and act in accordance with the direction given them in the last referendum. If nursing homes in the private sector can make a profit and expand operations, there is no reason why, with the combined business acumen, experience and knowledge of the St. Croix County Board, that the St. Croix County Nursing Home should not be the premier model of success.