I am writing this response to Rep. Herb Vadney, who wrote a letter in this paper on where he felt he had to jump in, I guess, to answer for the four representatives who voted against accepting $414,044 from Medicare for short term care given and needed by our senior residents in Belknap County. The care itself will cost $200,000, so in effect, the Belknap County Nursing home will take in an extra $214,044.
Rep. Vadney posed a number of questions and rather than rely on my memory from the meetings I have attended I asked the county administrator for the facts so that I could answer them.
Rep. Vadney stated, "That profit alone tells an incomplete tale." He asked "should the County Nursing Home be a profit center? Should the 18 state reps encourage the county commissioners to actively pursue Medicare short term rehabilitation folks and thereby compete with marketplace providers?"
The County Nursing Home costs the Belknap County taxpayers approximately $2.5 million per year. An additional $214,000 in revenue will not make it profitable. Our taxes will be reduced by that amount but that is a long way from profit. The county's goal is to cover the costs of the services they provide.
There's no need for the county commissioners to actively pursue Medicare patients, the county administrator's office will inform the local hospitals that the Belknap Nursing home is now an option for their patients.
The reason for the request for the additional $200,000 is because these therapy services cost more than what was originally budgeted. These are not staffing costs. They are being asked to provide more short-term therapy than they have in the recent past. When that money is gone they will not be able to provide these services except to their long-term care residents.
I have attended many of the County Convention meetings and have found that almost every time the representatives/delegation has asked questions of the commissioners, the administrator, and /or her staff, they have had the answers for them.
I would suggest to you, and all the delegation members, as well as the public, to call or email the county administrator's office with any questions or concerns; they are very responsive and informative.
And lastly, Rep. Vadney, I'd like to ask you not to put words in my mouth by insinuating as you did by saying: "Ms. Trombi seems to believe that when these four Belknap County representatives voted against additional nursing home funding of $200,000 they did so out of either pure meanness, total stupidity or both." Those were your words, not mine.