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Commissioners & staff have the answers, you just have to ask

To The Daily Sun,
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.
Paula Trombi

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 11:14

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Sanbornton Bay Association yard sale will be held Sat. June 22

To the editor,
Sanbornton Bay Association will be offering some entertainment this summer!
On Saturday, June 22, there will be a yard sale offering some wonderful treasures. The yard sale will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Leighton Farm, located at 386 Lower Bay Road, Sanbornton.
In addition to the yard sale, there will be the annual Boat Parade held on Saturday, July 6. The theme this year is "Your Favorite State". Boaters will meet at Pot Island and proceed on the west shoreline. Decorating your boats will be your way of winning a great prize.
Hope to see you this summer!
Barb Bormes

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 11:04

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Process used to propose unnecessary prison project was flawed

To The Daily Sun,
In a recent letter to the editor, Greg Knytych called for openness on the part of the county commissioners. Because of it immense costs of construction and in additional staffing, I can think of no more urgent need for candor than in the proposed new prison for Belknap County. The capital budget for the entire state is one hundred and twenty-five million dollars. This one project in a county with 5 percent of the state's
population has a proposed cost of over one-third of the budget for the entire state and all of its proposed projects.
Over the past several years, the commissioners have overseen huge increases in administrative costs. The run-up in the level of bureaucracy
was obscured by a "stimulus" whose chief legacy was increased national debt while the local private sector was left with nothing of utility. Increased and unnecessary staffing in the county was scaled back when the federal dollars were shut off and we are told that an efficient county administration is the cause of the reduction in the workforce. Of course, the staff employed should not have been added in the first instance but our very expensive personal, financial and administrative heads remain.
Some federal (stimulus) funds were used to improve the mechanical systems at the courthouse and this did make sense. Similar improvements
at the county jail would also have made sense but that would have run contrary to the commissioners' plans for an ultra-expensive new prison
and the 30 new staff that will be needed if it is built.
It is instructive to understand how this plan has been developed. Despite a huge fund balance, the last convention decided to appropriate an additional one hundred and sixty thousand dollars to hire New York City based consultants. At a time when many states have decided to close prisons rather than to open more of them, no public input into the decision making process was allowed. To have the consulting firm explain what has been decided is not at all adequate when the process itself was never open to either the public or to the delegates to the Belknap Convention.
"If you build it they will come" applies not only to the Field of Dreams but also to prisons. An outer limit to prison population escapes definition and
instead wiser jurisdictions than Belknap County have moved to community-based probation and parole which is the counterpart to community-based policing. The United States has far and away the greatest number of people incarcerated in comparison to other countries. Percentage wise, only Russia approaches our number and it is a distant second. Our fivefold increase in prisoners over the last 20 years is not driven by recidivism but rather by parole and probation violations. It is apparent that we need a new strategy to deal with this problem.
The process used to propose this unnecessary prison project was deeply flawed and its estimated annual carrying costs of over five million dollars
is unwarranted. In a county of diminishing economic opportunity, the answer to providing more and better jobs does not lie in creating more
government spending. Any expansion of government should be oriented to providing training for private sector jobs and not to funding the expansion of our county fiefdom.
Rep. Dick Burchell
Belknap 5

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 10:54

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Senators need to put aside dislike of 'Obamacare' & do what's best

To The Daily Sun,
Whether N.H. will opt into Medicaid expansion in 2014 and bring 58,000 uninsured working poor into the Medicaid program will be decided in the next two weeks as part of the state operating budget. This is a critical piece of the Affordable Care Act, which will help move us toward universal health care. Most other civilized nations in the world already provide health care coverage for all their citizens and don't limit access to care based on their income; we are just catching up.
The 13-member Republican caucus in the N.H. State Senate is where the stumbling block is right now. Fortunately, some members of the caucus are open to discussing expansion further, as the final state budget is debated. But others are so controlled by ideology — or perhaps by out-of-state conservative campaign funders like the Koch brothers — that they are in shut-down mode. This is unfortunate, for them and for all of us. The fact they are refusing to accept is that we all wind up paying for the uninsured, through uncompensated care at hospitals, community health centers and community mental health centers; and through higher insurance costs.
You can pay now or you can pay later, as the saying goes. We will all be paying a lot later unless N.H. gets with the program and starts addressing the problem of the uninsured. Please contact your state senators and ask them to put aside their partisan dislike of "Obamacare" and do what is best for the citizens of New Hampshire.
Jennifer Sereni
Board of Directors
Genesis Behavioral Health

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 01:00

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Expanding Medicaid will extend coverage to 55k N.H. working poor

To the editor,
It is clear to me after reading about the recent rallies supporting Medicaid expansion in Concord, Claremont, Portsmouth and Plymouth that the public knows that refusing federal dollars to broaden access to health care in N.H. is wrong. Medicaid expansion will allow us to offer health care coverage to over 55,000 working poor who have no access to care now.
New Hampshire has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage $2.5 billion in federal dollars over the next 7 years — funds that will help reduce uncompensated care at hospitals and community mental health centers; provide health care coverage to the working poor; and increase health-related employment. It makes no sense to turn this down.
Legislators need to put aside their partisan bickering and listen. Expanding Medicaid just makes sense. Please contact your legislators as they prepare the final version of the state budget and tell them it must include Medicaid expansion.
Liz Merry
Board of Directors, Genesis Behavioral Health
Board of Trustees, LRGHealthcare

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 11:17

Hits: 448

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