LACONIA — The county should look at selling the Belknap County Nursing Home, according to Belknap County Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), addressing members of the Belknap County Convention's Executive Committee last evening.
His comments came during a discussion of the current county budget and the $6.1 million in the health and human services line which represents payments made to the state of New Hampshire for county residents who are in private nursing homes and who are covered by Medicaid.
State Rep. Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton) asked for a study to see whether it is more cost effective for the county to pay for someone in a private nursing home or someone in the Belknap County Nursing Home, which he noted is "a five-star facility," and also whether the quality of care is equitable.
Burchell observed that there is no real possibility of expanding the number of beds in the county facility and that the county has a burgeoning population of those eligible for elderly services, which will drive up nursing home costs, public and private, for the county.
"The real game plan is to keep people in their homes longer." he said.
State Rep. George Hurt (R-Gilford) asked if it would be feasible to have a private nursing home "come in and take it over," referring to the county nursing home, and said the change might result in having a management team which is more progressive,
"It should be explored. We should look at selling it,'' said Burchell.
Asked after the meeting whether the sale would mean that the facility would no longer be staffed by county employees, Burchell said that would be the case.
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