Friday, February 25, 2011

McClure Op-Ed Ignores Alarming Trends in Nursing Home Industry

In a guest op-ed at The Express Times, Lamont McClure makes this claim: "Now that the books of Northampton County have closed for the fiscal year 2010, it is important to understand that over the last 20 years, Gracedale has returned to the county treasury nearly $8 million. Over the last five years, the worst for local governments since the Great Depression, Gracedale has managed to add nearly $2 million to our surplus."


What are the facts? I spoke with Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti, who provided me with the profits and losses at Gracedale since 1990.
20102,900,000 loss
20094,614,628 loss
2008953,502 profit
20075,427,871 profit
20062,565,721 profit
2005514,733 profit
20043,683,083 loss
20033,999,576 loss
2002461,735 profit
20013,105,879 profit
20002,315,682 profit
19993,403,803 profit
19985,661,596 profit
19974,878,670 profit
19961,435,795 profit
1995709,643 loss
19941,634,323 loss
19932,410,551 loss
19921,748,329 loss
1991160,712 loss
19901,637,386 loss
Over the past 5 years, Gracedale has returned $1,433,446 to the County coffers, less than the sum stated by McClure. Since 1990, it's a $7 million profit.

So when McClure claims that Gracedale has made money since 1990, he is correct. But that's only part of the story, McClure fails to point out disturbing trends that include a declining census, declining reimbursements, a saturated market, high personnel costs and the capital demands of an aging facility. Even a wheeler-dealer like Abe Atiyeh has been forced to try to convert a proposed assisted living facility in Bethlehem to an apartment building.

Northampton County is only one of seven Pa. counties currently considering a sale of their nursing home. Twenty-one counties in Pennsylvania have already sold their nursing homes. Thirty-eight of Pennsylvania's sixty-seven counties have no county-owned nursing home.

Commercial real estate appraiser Joseph Genay, who has conducted 130 appraisals of assisted living living facilities during A 35-year career, has stated there is a "major structural shift" in the way people view assisted living, and the current trend is for people to "stay in place." He indicated that, to be viable, assisted living facilities need an 85% occupancy rate, but the total occupancy rate in Northampton County is only 62.7%.

Genay's comments were directed at assisted living facilities, but the same reasoning would apply to nursing homes. It's a disturbing trend, and one that McClure completely ignores.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

I encourage EVERYONE to call Gracedale today, ask to place a elderly parent or aunt/uncle. Post the answers you get in here.

A sample is a follows

We are not taking new patients
We have no room
We will put you on the list


100+ empty beds

someone dies there everyday


no room in the inn Joseph?

You have officially

"jumped the shark"

Ohare....and Brenda too

Anonymous said...

So, since 1996 you have had eleven (11) years of profit and four (4) years of loss. The majprity of the four losses under Stoffa, who has always wanted to dump Gracedale.

Sure O'Hare, you convinced me with your "trend".

Truth over Perception

Anonymous said...

Good anon 12:39. I have heard the same thing. I have also heard it has beeen going on for a year. The Stoffa/Angle controlled plan to dump Gracedale has been in the works for some time.

Sadly, they are actually destroying the place to make there case. It should be a crime!

Anonymous said...

Does look like overall Gracedale has done alright for itself. Only real problems seem to be when Stoffa came to be in charge of the place. Then the botton fell out.

Simple solution is to keep Stoffa from interfering with the operation.

Anonymous said...

By the way for the good of factual news. Assisted living is not an option for a person only on Social Security. Assisted living operations won't accept medicade.

So if you are an elderly person on Soical Security with little or no real alternative income, the Assisted Living Homes are not insterested in you.

Lets at least try to keep it real.

That is why a discussion of elder care policy needs to be left to experts and informed folks not just some politcal harpies.

Anonymous said...

Don't all of you people assault Bernie with facts..It's not fair.

Anonymous said...

Well said anon 12:40.

Anonymous said...

All coments are well said just look at the facts that you listed.Maybe in years to come this administration and Maziotti will be found out!Smoke and mirrors governing!

Anonymous said...

Admit it Gracedale turns a profit.You just proved it with your figures!

brenda said...

Great article Bernie. People see positive numbers but they dont understand where the trend is going, and how hard it is going to get for public or private homes to stay afloat.

The federal reimbursements are taking a nose dive

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:40 - convenient skewing of the chart. In the past 21 years (the full chart) there were 11 years of profit and 10 years of loss. The fact that a majority of losses came in the past few years has nothing to do with the Stoffa administration, it has to do with trends in the nursing home industry and the bloated personnel costs at the facility. Just read the 192 page Gracedale study.

brenda said...

ANd the wheeler dealer Abe Atiyeh just managed to bullshit those fruit loops in West Easton that he is building an assisted living facility next to his jail

LIES, LIES, LIES

brenda said...

Anon 12:39
The way to get into gracedale is not from home to gracedale. Emergency placements are made when private pay residents of other facilities run out of money in private homes and then get transferred to gracedale.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 3:51am
By the way for the good of factual news. Assisted living is not an option for a person only on Social Security. Assisted living operations won't accept medicade.

---

This is not true and not true. My mother who is on Social Security and Medicaid is currently living in an assisted living facility. While they don't accept Medicaid, because it's not a MEDICAL bill- they did sign her up for a program called "RENT ASSISTANCE" which pays the remaining balance of what she owes per month.

Anonymous said...

8:16 = bullseye

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm.....
#1 Assisted living and nursing homes are two completely different things so why are you comparing apples to oranges.

#2 Did you ever think that the assisted living situation could be due to the much higher cost for residents.

#3 Look into the trend of residents going from assisted living to full care facilities. That is a no brainer!

#4 Don't say Mr. Genay's study of Assisted Living Homes would be the same kind of trend for nursing homes! I personally know Mr. Genay and I don't think he would like you putting a spin on his remarks during a zoning hearing concerning Mr. Atiyah's Assisted Living issues and make it something for you to use on the Gracedale issue.

#5 Gracedale once had a waiting list.....then came the Stoffa Administration and the issue of window repair, compounded by the shenanigans of administration (Stoffa) and voila.....EMPTY BEDS!!!! Fill the beds......increase revenue!
dj

Anonymous said...

This looks and reads like a story out of the Enquire
congrats Bernie
evertime I think you've hit bottom
you scrape a layer deeper

Anonymous said...

How can you fill beds when there is no demand???? There is no waiting list. No one really wants to live there except those with no choice. There are more attractive options. Who would want to live 4 in a room with disgruntled union workers who feel that the taxpayers owe them their jobs? Get real! Sell Gracedale ASAP and be thankful there is a decent buyer willing to pay $35 mil for it!!

Anonymous said...

anonymous 4:38
the reason gracedale isn't full is that stoffa, angle and the rest of that wonderful administration,keeps putting into the newspapers that they want to sell!! who in the right mind wants to put their family member in a place that they are not sure will remain.. now stoffa stated that maybe we should just close! wow another whammy!! do you think the residents don't read!!!!! it's not dis grunted employees either! the employees have NOT changed! they are still the caring individuals they always were! So get off you high horse about the union employees.. if you didn't know it, some aren't even union employees! surprise!!!!

Anonymous said...

How can you fill beds when there is no demand???? There is no waiting list. No one really wants to live there except those with no choice. There are more attractive options. Who would want to live 4 in a room with disgruntled union workers who feel that the taxpayers owe them their jobs? Get real! Sell Gracedale ASAP and be thankful there is a decent buyer willing to pay $35 mil for it!!



We are not allowed to say things like "hey blockhead" in response to other peoples inane comments so I'll start with dear Ma'am or Sir


I only ask you to call the place and ask to get a relative placed in there

The answer will educate you
The company that wants to purchase it wants them

TO NOT FILL BEDS
THEY WANT AN 85% CAPACITY WHEN THEY TAKE OVER

sorry for yelling however it seams there is alot of misinformation on here given by the Ohare

and the gulible blockheads are more than happy to perpetuate that information

You of course are not one of those blockheads

Anonymous said...

anonymous 4:38
the reason gracedale isn't full is that stoffa, angle and the rest of that wonderful administration,keeps putting into the newspapers that they want to sell!! who in the right mind wants to put their family member in a place that they are not sure will remain.. now stoffa stated that maybe we should just close! wow another whammy!! do you think the residents don't read!!!!! it's not dis grunted employees either! the employees have NOT changed! they are still the caring individuals they always were! So get off you high horse about the union employees.. if you didn't know it, some aren't even union employees! surprise!!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed that a pending sale is no incentive to stay at Gracedale.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This looks and reads like a story out of the Enquire
congrats Bernie"


Thank you. I fact checked McClure. I can see how that might trouble you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" First off keep the amount in the rainy day fund low that is my money"

It is your money but if it is kept at a low level, it won't be long before then the County will have to borrow money to pay operating expenses and raise taxes higher than you'd like, a la Jane Ervin.

A $25 MM stabilization fund is exactly what is needed for emergencies. The $15 MM in unassigned money is needed for operating expenses. Right now, the County is negotiating several contracts and some provide for binding arbitration. That sum could be wiped out in a heart beat.

You would not be happy to see a major tax hike or to see bind ratings drop. This is a fiscally prudent fund balance.

Anonymous said...

Gracedale was on life support long before this administrative even whispered the word "sell." It is an inefficient facility that is overstaffed with employees living off the union teet. Time for private enterprise to turn it into a first-class facility. It has the potential, or there wouldn't be any bidders.

Anonymous said...

Gracedale was on life support long before this administrative even whispered the word "sell." It is an inefficient facility that is overstaffed with employees living off the union teet. Time for private enterprise to turn it into a first-class facility. It has the potential, or there wouldn't be any bidders.

What planet do you hail from?
If I had 35 mill I'd buy it too

it is a steal

that is something some people in the county can relate to

Anonymous said...

Bernie you might have done yourself a diservice by posting those numbers
although I appreciate your candor
you show that the place has and would be profitable to retain
remember
"trends are for hula hoops"

Anonymous said...

$40 million in case the county screws up another labor negotiation. Call it what you like but this is money the county uses to keep the books balanced. Over and above this, they are holding on to another $20 million. It is all your money but Stoffa and Angle need to "borrow" it for awhule.

Stoffa is playing games on Gracedale because he needs the money for his drug addict home he is doing with his buddy Abe Atiyah. That is going to use all county dollars.

Money talks and right now the poor elderly folks at Gracedale aren't in the $$$$ ballgame when it comes to Stoffa and Angle.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie you might have done yourself a diservice by posting those numbers"

I never do myself a disservice by being honest. Since 1990, Gracedale has been profitable. But recent trends reveals a big change, and in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:05 I'm from Earth and the likelihood of you having $35 million is the same as me. The Gracedale study predicted $30 million so the amount bid is above market value. The buyer will have to sink millions into upgrading the facilities to make it profitable. Stop drinking the union Koolaid and face the facts.

Anonymous said...

30- 35 million was the figure
it is a depressed real estate market
4 years ago it would have brought a much larger price
it is shall we say a buyers market hey Bernie maybe you can do the title transfer
and since you like to tell the truth tell them about the dire real eastate market
the one which your participation is at its lowest in your career
one other point I do not, never have been, and god help me I never will have be a union member
I have no interest in the employees
I do know a snake in a woodpile when I see it
It appears you have taken the koolaide from the vipers

Anonymous said...

Everyone should know that all the blame for the Gracedale issue can and should be leveled on Abe Atiyeh, and the West Easton Bone head council members who voted unanimously for the drug/alchohol center.

They accepted bribes and voted yes

It could have been a battle fought and won, because I dont see a judge giving anyone the A-OK for a work release center smack dab in the center of a residential neighborhood

But the almighty buck speaks volumes...SAD

Anonymous said...

The stink of corruption is strong in the Northampton County Governemnt Center. If it would just be these guys taking care of each other that would be normal. Stoffa is a lifelong government boy. But to do it on the backs of the poor and sick senior citizens at Gracedale is a sin.

These people worked all thier lives and paid their taxes knowing that if all fails them in their fragile golden years Gracedale was alwyas there.

Now the greed boys won't even let the taxpayers have that. Egged on my some right wing lunatic fringe group, they are selling their residence right out from under them.

Of course Stoffa had a great teacher. How do you think Angle made his millions.

Sad Truth

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anonymous allegations of criminal behavior are cowardly and make both you and your cause look pathetic.

brenda said...

I think its pretty clear that if a sale goes through, Gracedale will not be "taken out from under their feet." No patient will be homeless, everyone will stay right where they are.

The new company might even make upgrades and get rid of the 4 to a room problem.

If they have some empty beds now, they will be able to shift patients to other rooms while renovations are being done. Its hard to renovate a facility that is busting at the seams

brenda said...

Anon 11:48pm

Glad to see someone has their eyes open and antennas up

From what I know, the approval process was down right underhanded

I hope the lawyers associated with Mr. Atiyeh make enough money from him to retire and move away quickly. Their choice to associate with Mr. Atiyeh has cost them their reputations in this area. Ask around

Anonymous said...

Excuse my ignorance Bernie, but I think it would help me better understand how Gracedale and other nursing homes work if you could provide the following information.
1) Is Gracedale truly the only place where seniors can go that have little or no money?
2) What are the requirements for a person to be accepted to Gracedale, and how do they compare to private nursing homes?
3) If other nursing homes do in fact take seniors with little or no money, is their ratio of these types of residents higher or lower than Gracedale's?

Anonymous said...

Woah! reading all the coments you people talk as if there will never be a tax increase in your lifetime. Wake up people.

Anonymous said...

Brenda you should run for county council or executive,you seem to have all the answers to peoples tax problems!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:11, Good questions. I'm headed to my grandson's basketball game, but will answer you later today.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The new company might even make upgrades and get rid of the 4 to a room problem."

That's the plan. They want to get rid of the linoleum and other crap and replace it with wood. They want to make it look like a home.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"1) Is Gracedale truly the only place where seniors can go that have little or no money? "

No. There are other, privately owned, places where seniors with no money can go. But Gracedale has 70% of the Medicaid beds in NC, so it is extremely important that any new buyer agree to continue that tradition, and in a way that is legally enforceable.

2) What are the requirements for a person to be accepted to Gracedale, and how do they compare to private nursing homes?

There are none. You do not have to be a county resident. You can be rich or poor.

At the Medicare.gov site, you can compare Gracedale to other nursing homes.

There are 111 nursing homes w/in a 50-mile radius of Gracedale. 52 of them are rated higher than Gracedale. Gracedale has a 3-star, or average rating. It just went u from 2 stars, or below average,

3) If other nursing homes do in fact take seniors with little or no money, is their ratio of these types of residents higher or lower than Gracedale's?"

Lower in Northampton County. As I indicated above, Gracedale has 70% of the Medicaid beds in NC, which means that only 30% are housed elsewhere. That is why it is extremely important that any agreement of sale contain language to protect indigents. That is why the County hired special counsel.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Will your appeal and stoffa's be merged into one, or will they be heard separately? Its the exact same appeal, right? "

Right now, they are being heard separately, but who know?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"At least Lamont is still a real lawyer."

A lot of people have law degrees. Only a few are lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Many medicaid seniors are NOT accepted by private homes due to the severity of their needs, for you laizze faire Capatilists, that means they are not proftable enough to take. Gracedale has always provided a home for sick and disabled county residents who need care, regardless of the severity of their condition. Of the 111 homes in the 50 mile area check how many have a capacity of more than 200 beds. Cedearbrook (also county owned) and Gracedale are the exceptions not the rule. Most are small private homes that are very restrictive on which if any medicaid residents they accept.

50 miles?? You want a 80 year old widow to travel 50 miles to see her terminally ill husband. Again you are not on the same page as the majority of county residents who are not politcal idealoges. Use 25 miles and that is a stretch. The options shrink dramatically.

'Wood floors', again if you want something bad enough you will beleive anything. The floors will be Amazon cherrywood and the resdients are one to a room with private nurse service. If you beleive this claptrap, not much else can be said. You have obviously never visted a large private medicaid heavy nursing home. Of course there aren't many but there are a few, check it out. Be sure to wear a nose plug.

The so-called "protective contract" has NEVER been tested in court. This was stated by the selling attorny group. Also it depends on the new owners honesty and the countys ability to decode the infgormation. HAHA, really?? And we all know contracts are ironclad. No contract has ever successfully been challanged in court. Again, suspending reality to obtain your goals is a wondeful thing, note Amazon cherry wood reference.

Also all the private inspectors you folks claim will be diligently protecting our elderly in the private homes are having their jobs eliminated. Remember you also want to cut govenment. These people are government and usually easy drops for State and Federal pols.

If you had any valid points the majority of people would listen. Your points are politcal bumper stickers not grounded in reality.

Truth over Misinformation, patent pending

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Many medicaid seniors are NOT accepted by private homes due to the severity of their needs,"

30% of the beds for indigents in NC are outside of Gracedale. Gracedale certainly has the lion's share, but private homes are caring for indigents, too.

"50 miles?? You want a 80 year old widow to travel 50 miles to see her terminally ill husband. Again you are not on the same page as the majority of county residents who are not politcal idealoges. Use 25 miles and that is a stretch. The options shrink dramatically."

A woman is not a widow until her husband is actually dead. Obviously, there are fewer homes in a 25 mile radius than a 50 mile radius. Using the same Medicare link, there are 37 homes in a 25-mile radius. 14 of them are rated 4 stars, higher than Gracedale.

"'Wood floors', again if you want something bad enough you will beleive anything."

I have no reason to believe or disbelieve it, but it is something that was said.

"The so-called "protective contract" has NEVER been tested in court. This was stated by the selling attorny group."

Similar kinds of protective covenants have withstood court challenges since the days of William the Conqueror. This is legally sound.

"Also all the private inspectors you folks claim will be diligently protecting our elderly in the private homes are having their jobs eliminated."

Every nursing home is inspected annually. Gracedale was just inspected and did not do well. According to the state Department of Health, "it was determined that Northampton County Home-Gracedale was not in compliance with the following requirements of 42 CFR Part 483, Subpart B, Requirements for Long Term Care Facilities and the 28 Pa. Code, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Long Term Care Licensure Regulations.". The facility failed to provide adequate supervision for 2 of 14 residents who were at risk for falling. One of 6 sampled residents was allowed to wonder. 2 of the 15 nursing units had toxic chemicals within reach of residents. 1 of 4 sampled residents was put in restraints without justification. 3 of 33 sampled residents were treated without respect and dignity. Doctor's orders were not being implemented for 1 of 31 sampled residents.

The facility failed to provide a safe and clean environment. " Residents J13, J17, J20, J21, J22, J35, and J41 on Tower 5 had equipment, specifically, chairs, cushions, and sheepskin covers on the chairs that were soiled, stained and torn."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Bernard

Those infractions a standard in all nursing homes

When cited they are resolved post haste

move on

why not go back to the 4 per room

or the mario cut in line in front of me offense

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is a notation next to these violations to indicate whether they are isolated, a pattern or pervasive. The problem with the restraints was minor, but the filthiness there was pervasive, and inadequate precautions for patients who fall is a pattern.

Gracedale can do better.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

If you can't make a point without a personal attack, expect to be deleted. That's why you were deleted this weekend and that's why you're deleted now.

Anonymous said...

Gracedale does great, it serves people suffering from the ravages of time and life. You on the other hand can do no worse than you already have fro people.

You are disgusting