Morning Read: Clinton County considers privatization of home health care

Counties around the North Country have been considering the privatization of their nursing homes.

Now the Plattsburgh Press Republican is reporting that Clinton County may follow the trend by privatizing its in-home nursing and health care services.

Over the last five years, the program shifted from being a net money-maker for the county to nearly a $2 million expense.

The increase is mostly due to a drastic drop in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements and stricter federal guidelines.

“There obviously is a lot of emotion involving this, but for the county not to look at alternatives that could continue to provide the service and still save nearly $2 million would be irresponsible,” said County Administrator Michael Zurlo.

Dozens of people turned out this week to protest the change, arguing that it would mean lower quality service.  Read the full article here.

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12 Comments on “Morning Read: Clinton County considers privatization of home health care”

  1. JDM says:

    Well, let’s see. Bill Owens is our Clinton County representative at the national level. What does he say?

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, saying he feared “dire consequences” if nothing is done to reform the nation’s health care system, said today he will vote for President Obama’s sweeping plan when it comes to a vote Sunday.

    “One of the questions that weighed very heavily on my mind is: What happens if we do nothing?” Owens said. He said he was convinced there would be “dire consequences” for Americans who would see health insurance premium costs continue to rise out of control.

    So, Bill Owens voted to fix the spiriling costs of health care.

    I think we should all sit back and wait for Bill Owens fix to kick in. Evertything will be fine.

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  2. oa says:

    JDM, I thought you hated government-run programs and love privatization of everything, including the water supply. So what’s not to like about this story?
    Are you reversing your firmly held philosophical positions and advocating for this continued government-run program?

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. JDM says:

    If national health care is the answer, then it will prove itself out.

    The problem is, a lot of lefty theories don’t stand up to real world reality.

    We’ll see. If the government can give us all the health care we need at an affordable cost, well, we’ll see.

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  4. oa says:

    Fine, but you didn’t answer my question. Why are you suddenly in love with a government nursing home program? Why do you hate the private sector?

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Mervel says:

    Just outside of the politics for a moment, I wonder if it is even viable? A private firm won’t accept losses the way a public entity can. They cannot continually run in the red. What this may really mean is that these programs are going to close or be slashed if they can not show a way to be profitable. If medicare and medicaid do not cover the costs and if you don’t have a significant private pay component I don’t see how a private option would work? Maybe they could be far far more efficient and make up that difference?

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  6. tootightmike says:

    I’m sick of the way the word “entitlements” is used these days to describe things that the PEOPLE unfairly expect. I’ve worked hard all my f***ing life, since I was 13 yrs. old and paid into my social security, even if I didn’t really want to, or understand the point. These days, I get it. I get it, and I want the government to know, I expect it. There will be NO cuts to MY social security, because I AM entitled. It’s a done deal. We worked our butts off with an understanding that it would all pay off in the end, and (am I ranting here) if the powers that be want to change the deal now, they can be assured, we will assemble with pitchforks and torches if necessary, to assure that the deal plays out. …….Whew!
    Really people, will we let the rich and the super rich run off to the Bahamas with the whole thing, or will we make them leave a little bit …for those who made them rich?

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  7. hermit thrush says:

    The problem is, a lot of lefty theories don’t stand up to real world reality.

    a bigger problem is ignorance. the main components of the affordable care act don’t kick in until 2014. and it’s not like they’re going to suddenly magically make health care cheaper. the aca is all about trying to slow the rate of cost increases in the medium-to-long term. it’s a stretch only a real ideologue could make to try to pin any of this on a vote bill owens took a year ago.

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  8. oa says:

    Mervel said: “A private firm won’t accept losses the way a public entity can.”
    You’re right, Mervel. But it’s viable because they can cut the employees with benefits and pay minimum wage instead with no benefits instead.

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  9. Mervel says:

    Oa maybe. But of course employees don’t have to work for them in that case. Basically you are saying that the current employees are overpaid for the market.

    I think that the venture is not viable at all, this is simply the fist step in ending or severely curtailing the whole service. I doubt private firms are going to be jumping at this opportunity. Private nursing homes are in just as bad of financial shape as public ones. You can’t pay nurses below market wages, they are in great demand they will simply go somewhere else.

    You can’t operate these services in NYS without the proper employees and that would apply to a public or private health care service.

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  10. oa says:

    They don’t have to be nurses. They can be attendants, who can be paid minimum wage. This chart is an eye-opener: http://www.salaryexpert.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Browse.Nursing-Home-Attendant-salary-data-details&PositionId=28119
    The real issue here is whether something like this should be a free-market function. We in America believe it should be. We’re also starting to believe we should cut all pensions and many social security benefits, while cutting taxes for the richest 1%. We make choices about how we want to live and treat people.

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  11. oa says:

    PS, and we believe in wars, too. Tomahawk missiles, like the ones Obama is shooting at Libya without a congressional declaration of war, cost between $500,000 and $1 million. Just a few could pay for a lot of nursing home care.
    Go USA!

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  12. Mervel says:

    But Oa you are forgetting that the Tomahawk missile is from the private market, the government does not make them they buy them from our good friends at Raytheon who pays its employees very well.

    If the taxpayers want to foot the bill for this care I think that is a good thing it would in Clinton County have to come out of increased sales or property taxes. The taxpayers are already paying for the medicare and medicaid to operate this function.

    The bottom line is that we have a cost crises with no end in sight, I don’t think the private market is going to end up filling this function as it does not look viable. So the public sector would have to do it, but the public sector does not want to do it.

    As you say its all about choices.

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