LETTER: Regarding proposed sale of nursing home
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Below is a copy of a letter I sent to Hubbard County Board of Commissioners. As indicated in my letter, what is wrong in putting this issue on the ballot as an advisory – non-binding –vote? Then you will know what the taxpayers wish.
One commissioner states, “I just don’t think government belongs in health care.” Personally, I believe we do – just as much or more so as we are in the solid waste business and maybe in the housing of lawbreakers.
First of all, I am not in any way criticizing one way or the other your proposed sale of the county-owned nursing home. Nor am I advocating one way or the other. I simply want to pass on a little history on the matter.
Most of you know, I was privileged to serve representing District 1 as it was at the time for two terms, twice as chair. Obviously, the district was significantly different in the early 80s, as it went from Henrietta to above Lake Alice – quite diversified geographically.
Also during my term, the nursing home fell into some very less than desirable managerial and illegal circumstances. As a result, I basically ran (using the term loosely) the facility for approximately two years. I was a teacher so I “had the time.” (sic) As a result, I became intimately aware of many of the feelings of Hubbard County constituents, Heritage employees, and families of residents. The commitment to resident care by employees never wavered.
To my recollection, the desire to sell the nursing home was put on the ballot two different times, even knowing this was simply advisory and not binding on the board. Both times, it was the desire of the taxpayers to retain county ownership, which the county board elected to do. During my two-year stint “in the office,” again I came to understand the sentiments of employees and families.
Admittedly, approximately 75 percent of Minnesota nursing homes are proprietary. And we could debate forever some of the pros and cons either way. It appears that very little if any discussion has been held in an open forum, to this point, and I totally understand the need to discuss negotiations in a closed setting. My only issue is make sure you know what are the wishes of the taxpayers who have supported the county-owned nursing home for many years.