What are the facts? I spoke with Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti, who provided me with the profits and losses at Gracedale since 1990.
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.