Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gracedale Will Cost $1.6 Million Less, Says New Manager

Northampton County's proposed 2012 budget calls on taxpayers to pay $7,192,000 to keep Gracedale, the County-owned nursing home, afloat next year. But at a November 15 Budget Hearing, Gracedale's new management firm, Premier Healthcare Resources, suggested it can trim $1.6 million from that figure.

How will it do this? Primarily, by increasing the census from 591 on November 15 to 638 residents next year, giving the nursing facility an additional $1.1 million in revenue. The rest of the savings will come from $500,000 in as yet unidentified cuts.

A dubious Council grilled Interim Administrator Dave Holland whether this would be possible. While conceding that the Lehigh Valley is an increasingly competitive market, Holland suggested that placing a nurse liaison at local hospitals would bring in new residents. He would attempt to attract Medicare, as opposed to Medicaid patients, which are more profitable. But Council members questioned whether that would defeat the whole point of keeping Gracedale in County hands.

"We are the court of last resort," noted Mike Dowd.

Council Prez. John Cusick questioned whether increasing census would automatically lead to additional revenue. "Filling beds is a slogan, not a solution," he scoffed.

But Holland suggested there were other revenue-enhancing possibilities to consider as well, from  a Dialysis Unit with a smaller provider to a Generational Unit.for younger people in need of nursing care as a result of  traumatic injuries.

Holland also proposed reducing workers compensation claims with a Wellness Employee Health Clinic, to educate workers on ways to avoid injury on the job.

Though the budget for Gracedale might be reduced next year, there won't be a reduction in John Stoffa's proposed 9.3% tax hike because Council must appropriate an additional $2.9 million for Gracedale in 2010. "The taxpayers have said we will spend money for Gracedale," Stoffa argued.

Although Holland never identified the $500,000 in cost savings proposed, he indicated that staffing is "under review."

When Ron Angle noted that Holland won't be able to do much about the benefits in the union contracts, Holland agreed. "We're playing the hand we're dealt. No question about that."

Human Services Director Ross Marcus stated there would be no new union contract this year. Peg Ferraro warned him, "I am not voting for that union contract unless it has some reasonable concessions."

While praising Holland for his cost saving proposals, Angle doubts "anybody can ever get this to break even unless you're in la la land and wave magic wands."

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Save $100,000 a year...get rid of the counties highest wage earner that nurse that sits there 2.5 shifts a day. I think I heard she is padding her pension.
Take away Castros birthday as a paid holiday.
Veterens Day....NO...
unless your a vet
MLK....NO
Canadian Thanksgiving ....NO
They can trim the paid days to 7
Easter...only if you work it.
Pay freeze to be fair revisit each year of the contract in case the place does make some money. Then maybe a bump.
And some additional healthcare contributions.
BTW...I supported keeping it.

Anonymous said...

Again you have no one in the county government with any real knowledge of nursing home operations. The county council is as blind as bats on this issue. Ross Marcus isn't much more knowledgeable than them. Stoffa wants the place to fail anyway.

This is going to be a rough two years for Gracedale as these guys will actually work against the company and continue to make Gracedale the whipping boy for the incompetence and mismanagement of Stoffa and Marcus.

The real shame is that Gracedale had a plan and was coming back when Stoffa took office and canned the company making progress.

They should both resign.

Anonymous said...

Again you have no one in the county government with any real knowledge of nursing home operations. The county council is as blind as bats on this issue. Ross Marcus isn't much more knowledgeable than them. Stoffa wants the place to fail anyway.

This is going to be a rough two years for Gracedale as these guys will actually work against the company and continue to make Gracedale the whipping boy for the incompetence and mismanagement of Stoffa and Marcus.

The real shame is that Gracedale had a plan and was coming back when Stoffa took office and canned the company making progress.

They should both resign.

Anonymous said...

Let Gracedale die its natural death. County's should not be in the nursing home business and talk of "marketing" a government service is ridiculous. The majority of those with a choice stay far away from Gracedale. It's a union featherbed and a terrible place to sentence a loved one to.

Anonymous said...

You are largly uninformed
The people with a choice choose Gracedale

Anonymous said...

Start by eliminating 20 positions, that's good for about $1 million.
Then negotiate a new contract that gives up another $3.5 million. That's a beginning. Move the county’s offices from the Wolf and Bechtel buildings into underutilized space on the Gracedale property. Build a new facility on the property to house those low risk prisoners currently heading to West Easton.

Zorn said...

cut the union puke's benefits until they beg to be employed there. benefits are not rights.

Anonymous said...

County government shouldn't be in competition with private businesses.

Anonymous said...

So many misinformed folks..As Bernie has pointed out numerous times in the past, more money goes to private facilities than goes to public..Our federal or state legislators need to change that.They need to get off their unproductive asses and stop catering to the rich private facitlity owners and equalize what the private and public facilities are getting...Also, I agree with the new management firm who stated that Medicare people should get first dibs on beds..Absolutely..Medicare clients are usually middle class folks who worked their whole lives and paid into social security..medicaid people pretty much haven't..period..Don't want to sound harsh here but shouldnt those who worked and have given in to the system be in line first?? Usually they are the ones also who have to fork up their entire estates aside from utilizing medicare to have a bed...What estates do the medicaid folks have to even give up? Stop the bullshit about the unions!! Gracedale has done well over the years with union contracts..The county used their money for other departments..After squandering it all away now they are crying that it's short..Very simple solution here..The county voters wanted gracedale and are willing to pay the one mill it will cost to continue its services..That costs the average taxpayer about one dollar a week..Damn it, be responsible and do it already...

Anonymous said...

Really you hire an outside company to make suggestions on how to make Gracedale work better then you have the THREE STOGGES questioning and saying it won't work.Everyone knows that when the bed were full Gracedale turned a profit that the County took the profit and used that for other pet projects. If they would of put half of those profits back into Gracedale every year it would be in need of so many improvements now.Its about time Council and Stoffa get their heads out of you know where and put their minds together by working together for the good of Gracedale and what the Voters want.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The real shame is that Gracedale had a plan and was coming back when Stoffa took office and canned the company making progress."

Completely untrue.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point 9:23,

This council is hilarious..They bring in a management firm to come up with ideas, then slam them..Medicare before Medicaid..That idea is not only productive but absolutely fair. I'm sorry , but people who worked their entire life and have given to the system should be given priority, period!! This is not to say medicaid beds shouldn't exist..Of course they should..However, as in most private facilities, they need to be limited..

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see. Medicaid should be given priority, and be limited, too.

Anonymous said...

No Bernie, you don't see..Medicare should be given priority. Medicaid should be limited..Did I stutter??

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see. Then why bother keep it cvounty-owned? I thought the whole point was to ensure that those in need have a final home. In fact, the private buyer has\d to agree to give priority to Medicaid for 85% of its beds.

Anonymous said...

Actually Bernie, Stoffa did in fact fire the very company that had Gracedale making a profit. You can continue to deny that fact but it is a fact nonetheless.

The paper trail exists to prove it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This was addressed in a Council meeting by Ross Marcus, and your claim is simply untrue. I have pointed this out several times.

Anonymous said...

A private buyer can agree to give beds to 85% of medicaid clients when they are being reimbursed more than the public facility is for the same client. A public facility can't afford to do that..Anyway, why not give beds to those who contributed to the system instead of those who have always taken from the system..If you have to prioritize you need to consider this..If you get the same funding either way then you dont have to prioritize...If you arent getting medicare , you haven't paid into the system..Why should you expect the same benefits?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Because, according to the voters, that is what they want.

Anonymous said...

LOL..OK Bernie, now you have me confused..I don't think the voters expressed whether or not they wanted Medicare clients to have priority over Medicaid clients. However, considering that most elderly voters are most likely Medicare recipients rather than medicaid clients my guess is that they'd prefer giving themselves priority..

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't know where you've been during this debate. One of the biggest arguments against privatizing is that there woud be no place for Medicaid residents to go. That is why a clause was to be inserted in the agreement guaranteeing priority. And frankly, we do have an obligation to provide that safety net.

Now that the sell debate is over, it is very understandable that council members would be concerned about Medicaid residents.

I do not know the exact percentage at Gracedale, but historically, it has been very high.

Anonymous said...

I love the "dollar a day" line. Everything is just a dollar a day until it all adds up to a total tax bill that chokes families tryng to keep homes. The dollar a day guy should be OK with covering my buck. It's only a buck.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a shit about one more lie by Marcus to a clueless county council. The firm hired to fix Gracedale and was helping them make money was let go by John Stoffa in early 2006.

The Sandusky defense is interesting. Just deny a fact by the lie of another Stoffa puppet.

Again, the facts are the facts. They were there. Stoffa came to office and they were dismissed.

You can 'address' it a thousand times but as lie is a lie.

What holocaust???

Anonymous said...

Didn't see anyone mention "a dollar a day"...However, if you have that dollar I can understand if you invest it in a seminar to teach you how to read..You'll probably get a discount for being a tea bagger because of the group discount for those with special needs..Bernie, you just said earlier that private facilities will take up to 85% medicaid clients so apparently they'll be no shortage of beds for them..I very highly doubt that this was forefront in the debate..If i didnt see it I doubt highly that the public at large noticed it..Yea, they would rush to vote agaist their own interests , I'm certain..Come on.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see anyone mention "a dollar a day"...However, if you have that dollar I can understand if you invest it in a seminar to teach you how to read..You'll probably get a discount for being a tea bagger because of the group discount for those with special needs..Bernie, you just said earlier that private facilities will take up to 85% medicaid clients so apparently they'll be no shortage of beds for them..I very highly doubt that this was forefront in the debate..If i didnt see it I doubt highly that the public at large noticed it..Yea, they would rush to vote agaist their own interests , I'm certain..Come on.

Anonymous said...

It's altogether riotous when a Flea Bagger crawls from his vermin infested tent and deigns to pontificate on reading and comprehension via a barely literate effort replete with more construction errors than a lowest bidder union job.

Go back to your squalor and we'll throw some gummint cheese your way if you behave and don't throw rocks through windows and shit on cop cars.

Anonymous said...

Hey Zorn,
the "Union Pukes" are tax payers too, just don't forget that! Stick your suggustions up your a---!!! We do deserve benefits! we are health care providers but we don't deserve health care? You make me sick!!!!!!!!!ps i know you are bo!

Zorn said...

anon5:05

didn't say your shouldn't get benefits - only that they should be cut. again they are not your right. your so called union leaders have taught you that and you are foolish enough to pay your dues to them for their pearls of misguided wisdom But then your comments suggest that you need all the help you can get. obviously just another dem leeching off of society

Anonymous said...

How about cutting the overtime in the nurseing department and other departments - over $800,000 per year? Let people work,(regular time not time and 1/2), who need money, not ones who switch back and forth with coworkers with vacation, sicktime and personal time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

".Bernie, you just said earlier that private facilities will take up to 85% medicaid clients so apparently they'll be no shortage of beds for them..I very highly doubt that this was forefront in the debate..If i didnt see it I doubt highly that the public at large noticed it."

It was very much at the forefront of the debate, if not the biggest bone of contention. Gracedale goons complained bitterly that a private buyer would squeeze out the needy, even though the County was going to insist on it as a covenant running with the land. People were told their loved ones would be shipped four or five counties away, that the facility was closing down, etc.

I understand trying to attract higher paying residents, but Gracedale has most of the Medicaid beds in this County, and that should remain.

Anonymous said...

They won the battle of the referendum, but ultimately lost the war. Lay them off. Cut. Cut. Cut. Slash. Slash. Slash.

Anonymous said...

You keep saying that "lost the war" thing. And everytime I get tears in my eyes from laughing.

In denial? Or just not mature enough to understand the complex nature of the subject?
I think the workers are sensible and will accept reasonable adjustments in their benefit package.

BTW
They are hiring at Gracedale
Immediate hiring.
Maybe go apply, you're probably good at changing diapers since you continue to wear one.

Zorn said...

BO,

union pukes will lie and use any scare tactics they can to get their way - facts mean nothing to them

Anonymous said...

A least the goons speak the truth.
something you know nothing about Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

With your growing enemies' list and disgusting comments, you are an embarrassment to the real people of Northampton County.

Anonymous said...

Hey Northampton County, here's a clue. Instead of sentencing your beloved parents to pasture, try choosing the moral option to take them into your own home and take care of them yourselves. Oh wait, have a problem with that because it would disrupt your life? Think it would be too big of a hassle to take care of your own parents, like they took care of you when you had crap dripping down your pants? Can't do it? Then stop bitching about how much we make. We chose to take care of your parents when YOU chose not to. You voted Gracedale in, but you want to restructure our pay now. Hmm, can't have your cake -- you know the rest...

Anonymous said...

No one believes anything the Stoffa lie machine puts out.

Anonymous said...

I just quit my job bought a dialysis machine, a defibrillator, a Gerry chair, a BIG box of Depends. And am taking nursing courses, dietician courses, physical therapy courses, and an at home embalming course. You won't see MY parents at Gracedale being ignored by over paid union goons. Gotta go mom just laid some cable and we had chili tonight.

Anonymous said...

You just hit on the teabagger plan.

Anonymous said...

"We chose to take care of your parents when YOU chose not to"

get off your moral high horse. you chose to be PAID to take care of the elderly.

Zorn said...

anon 6:10

the majority of gracedale goons will not understand your "moral high horse" comment.

it is beyond their intellect. they only understand what their dysfunctional leaders tell them to understand and of course, pay day.

only mindless sheep pay dues so someone else can tell them what to do and say.

your comments will have them scratching their pea brains

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Bernie is having a good argument with himself on some of these comments. It's his way to try and make everyone look like idiots. Best thing to do is not to read comments because he is just keeping this topic to try to destroy Gracedale and pit people against each other.

Zorn said...

anon7:00,

no one, not even Bo needs to try to make union pukes and coward anons look like idiots. They do a wonderful job of it themselves

Anonymous said...

knock off the union crap! they are the ones that made the 40 hr week, they bargained for weekends off! They worked for safer working conditions, they worked for health care, child labor laws, on and on, they really aren't bad people! just because you don't have a union you want to make All those in unions look bad. I know unions have an obligation to represent bad employees, but the bad employee usually does it again, and does themselves in. Sometimes when the people think they are bad, they really aren't sometimes you just have to move along, like you bo, zorn, and the rest of you union haters!

Anonymous said...

they also destroyed the local wage structure for a generation and managed to chase manufacturing out of the country. its why private unions are almost extinct and why the only ones hanging on are public unions used as political tools. the government that unions paid dearly to elect has granted an endless list of protections. mission accomplished; you're no longer needed. membership figures of private unions indicate most have figured this out. today's unions are not your daddy's unions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I'm thinking Bernie is having a good argument with himself on some of these comments. It's his way to try and make everyone look like idiots. Best thing to do is not to read comments because he is just keeping this topic to try to destroy Gracedale and pit people against each other."

That's probably bc this is what you do. Believe me, I do not have to try to make you look like idiots. All anybody has to do is look at all the hate on the Gracedale blog or its spinoff. You do it during County Council meetings, too, as Jack D'Alessandro recently made clear.

Anonymous said...

anon cowards
Zorn cowards
one in the same

Anonymous said...

ZORN spelled backwards is asshole!

Anonymous said...

To Zorn:

Perhaps we shouldn't pay people at all to take care of your deadweight? That's morally sound. Please, when the private sector was booming, no one cared about Union jobs, I don't want to hear it now. Should made a better career choice...

Anonymous said...

All posts should specify public service or private union. Private unions are to be supported and applauded. Public sector unions should be decertified and made illegal forever. Private union = good. Public service union = leeching, anti american communists.

Zorn said...

anon 2:57,

I have made the right career and financial decisions. While you are still paying dues to some one else who tells you what to say and who to vote for I have followed my own bright and shinning star.

while you sit at the bar, crying in your warm beer I have successfully completed two careers, paid off two beautiful homes, sent my children thru college and they also have become honest and upright citizens who do not depend on anyone. I retire with an income larger then you can ever imagine or make and have no debt.

You must perform your job as a sheep forever and then beg the government to care for your unworthy butt for the rest of your life. Well, someone has to clean the toilets.

Zorn said...

anon2:44,

aren't you so smart - you learned a new union slogan

Anonymous said...

The interment is amazing.
You can be whatever you want to be.

Zorn = Warren Buffett
I'm jealous
I wish I were Zorn
I wish Zorn would hire me to clean his toilets
In his two paid for dwellings
Zorn = condescending twit
It amazes me that the uber wealthy,
the idle rich,
come in here to ridicule
the hoi poloi, the unwashed masses, the prols
I wonder if Zorn is a fan of Glen Beck
You know Beck predicts the OWS people will go to the homes of millionaires pull them out into the street and beat them to death.
I just changed my mind
I am glad I'm not Zorn.

Zorn said...

I pity you for your lack of mental resources. obviously I need not bother trying to rehabilitate you. I shall waste no further time with your vulgar stupidity

Anonymous said...

Zorn = retard

Anonymous said...

To Anon 4:40

lol! Isn't the Internet great?! You can be all you can be here. Paid off TWO homes, lucrative investment accounts, but somehow he finds it important to belittle us WORKING peasants in a local neighborhood blog.

Hey Zorn, maybe it's you who needs to get off YOUR high horse.

Public Union employees in this county pay into their pension, keep the local economy booming and are NOT immune from taxes. Leeches? Please. Attack long tern welfare and bogus disabilities recipients, leave the employed alone.

Anonymous said...

what exactly are you talking about with public employees as leeches? We pay taxes which are our wages, we pay into bour retirement, we pay into our health care, however not a tremdous amount, but the reason we don't pay a whole lot for benefits, is because our wages are so much lower than most.. so why are we such leeches? you tell me! no different from teachers, prison guards, police, fire fighters, on and on for public employees.....

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've said this before and I'll say it again. Just as "Allentown Democratic Voter" is actually a Republican trying to make a point, I believe Zorn is a union dude having some fun.

Anonymous said...

The point is they are both hypocritical anons.

Zorn said...

bo - never a union dud - worked for 50 years and never in a union. i've had useless union pukes work for me and thus have witnessed their lazy and greedy ways

Anonymous said...

Your buddy Chris is a union guy with a public pension, must really piss you off.

Anonymous said...

Hey Zorn do you know why we call BO tick tac. lol
put a tic tac in your mouth and get a bang out of life

Anonymous said...

chris miller hows that fat juicy union pension.