To The Laconia Sun,
What a pleasure it is to pick up The Laconia Daily Sun and to watch their intrepid reporter labor over yet another article on the Belknap County Board of Commissioners. The headline reads that I "was called out for accessing medical records," which access was neither sought nor obtained by me. Perhaps the writer of the headline did not read the story.
In the name of "transparency," the board managed to dredge up a 3 1/2-month-old non-event and make it a cause celebre.
Perhaps in service to that much sought-after transparency, I could have been provided a copy of the agenda in advance of the meeting.
The facts were simple enough, however, so as to not require a lot of research. Simply stated, the facts are as follows:
1. I was not convinced that a lack of electronic medical records was the reason for the decline in reimbursement for nursing home patients whose residency is underwritten by Medicaid.
2. At a meeting with Department of Health and Human Services rate setters, I learned that their definition of acuity is tied not to the level of service required, but to the overall percentage of Medicaid patients in the Nursing Home. That number is somewhat arbitrary since the census is taken on two days of the year and there are stringent rules for the patients so recorded.
3. This census caused the state to record a 10 percent decline in the (local) Medicaid population, a percentage which I do not believe to be accurate.
4. In order to successfully compare patients receiving service through Medicaid to all payers, I needed to know the gross census numbers for Medicaid, Medicare and privately-paid patients.
5. I stated at the time that I did not need and did not want access to anyone's private information but only the raw census numbers. Ultimately, I received and reported on those numbers. The public should know that the county is about $180,000 poorer as a result of this process. Unfortunately, the statement that the numbers were readily available is completely untrue.
Frequency of use has fostered the thought that when Commissioner Taylor uses "quite frankly" as a place holder, he is on the verge of saying something which requires rebuttal and is anything but frank.
As to the tattered second charge, ask yourself why Primex made a settlement with the former nursing home director, a settlement which will not be disclosed but will be reflected in higher rates paid to Primex. Ask yourself also, given the fact that you were a nursing home director unfairly subjected to a hostile workplace, if you would not want a dissenting voice to give a minority report on the validity of your complaint. In giving this minority report, I did not hide the fact that I was so doing.
Mr. DeVoy gave a report for the majority, a report with which I disagreed. I returned serve. This has been reported on before, but The Sun reporter would have you believe that there is smoke and surely a fire as well.
I will continue to represent District 2 to the best of my ability and thank the many people who have supported my efforts.
My fellow commissioners have lost a lot of political capital this year. If this is the best that they can do to try to discredit me and to shore up support for themselves then I would suppose them not very able.
Belknap County Commissioner