Letters to the Editor: July 12, 2023

Letters to the Editor published in the July 12, 2023 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.

The continued deceit by the Lincoln County Board on Pine Crest

North Central Health Care announced that Pine Crest Nursing Home, a leading provider of skilled nursing care services, has been awarded a Five-Star Rating by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – and yet our elected Lincoln County Board has spent many years threatening to sell and now has gotten to the stage of the actual selling to a privately held company while disgracefully turning deaf ears to the residents of Lincoln County who resoundingly do not wish the sale of Pine Crest.

Petitions have been and still are being circulated letting the County Board know that we are in direct opposition to any potential Sale. We are an aging society (as are the County Board) and have the definite need of the outstanding care standards offered by Pine Crest to continue doing the good work they have always done in the past.

My own mother spent almost 6 years at Pine Crest (she died in 2013 at 103 years old) and the care she received was superior to any other! Out-of-State relatives who came for her 100th Birthday was amazed at the bright, cheerful, well maintained interior and jealously wished for a nursing home like that for their mom back home. The Staff were caring of all the residents – I’d even told my kids that was the place I wished to go when it was “my time” to be placed in a home! After mom passed I called to those who were in charge of nursing (Park Falls I think at that time) as well as Pine Crest – I wanted to let them know that I and my family really appreciated the care they took of my mother all thru the years of her stay!

Granted the Petitions are already making a statement of what we want but more importantly I, and possibly everyone else, are requesting as residents and taxpayers of Lincoln County (need I remind you – we pay the salary for all you “elected” County Board/Supervisors seated to represent their people) should be held accountable for your poor, and I feel dishonest, decision on this issue.

The only way to do that is by demanding a binding county-wide referendum on this issue! No more of the biased Board always shooting the referendum idea down!

We are now at the point where Lincoln County’s future for all the aging residents being denied the future outstanding care, already in place, by the officials who continue to resist and ignore the will of the people and prefer taking the easy route, shortcut if you will. Now we must get our point across that that is no longer an allowable option! We want and expect to be heard and that time is now before any signatures are written on dotted lines!

A binding referendum and no excuses!

Darlene Raunio


Speak up now to save our valuable asset

As you read this, Lincoln County is at imminent risk of losing one of its most precious assets – Pine Crest Nursing Home. Yes, that publicly-owned nursing home is a valuable, rare jewel.

Too often vital services such as Pine Crest are sold out for short-term gain only to produce long term problems and ever-increasing costs not only for former/potential facility residents and their families, but for the entire community and its economy.

Not only does Pine Crest provide jobs for many in our community, it has demonstrated a higher standard of care for its residents. That higher standard of care enables family members to maintain their jobs and contribute to the economic health of the community while knowing that a resident family member is being cared for in a respectful and dignified manner. Too many family members have had to give up their own employment to care for the ever-growing needs of a family member who could not afford for-profit care or whose assets ran out before their needs were met.

Pine Crest belongs to the residents of Lincoln County, not the Lincoln County Board. According to the Board’s mission statement, that 22-member body exists “…to maintain and improve the quality of life by providing fiscally responsible services in a respectful and dignified manner for those we serve.”

Pine Crest belongs to we the people, for the people, by the people, and should not be sold out to some distant, for-profit, multi-million or billion dollar hedge fund operation. Lincoln County can lead the way and demonstrate to the rest of the state, that long term care is achievable for those who need it.

Speak up now to save our valuable asset!

Diana C. Smith


Nursing homes – public or private?

I have visited several close friends, relatives, my grandmother and mother, over the past many years at Pinecrest Nursing Home. I have spent a considerable amount of time there and never observed mistreatment or lack of care, consideration or impatience toward residents by staff. Nor have I heard a single complaint by patients.

A psychiatrist from Wausau made a visit to my mother to see if he could prescribe medication that would help her, suffering from alzheimers, to make a better adjustment there. When I shared my opinion regarding service provided by staff, his fitting response was, “they are angels here.”

So, take your pick for your own future nursing home care: Pinecrest or a private for profit nursing home that could possibly provide substandard if not abominable care.

To keep Pinecrest a county institution sign the petition at Westside Grocery, Johnsons Gifts, Cenex near Post Office or St Vincent’s de Paul.

Bill Ritter


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