Letter to the Editor: July 26, 2023
Letter to the Editor published in the July 26, 2023 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.
Pine Crest can survive, flourish under different ownership
I just read my weekly Tomahawk Leader. I believe it necessary to clarify some things about what I read in “letter to the editor” this week from your good reader Mr. Hobbs of Tomahawk in regard to Pinecrest Nursing Home.
First let me say, I am a lifelong Democrat who believes intensely in helping the poor, disadvantaged, elderly and handicapped. I also have been a 27 year licensed nursing home administrator in good standing. I am now semi-retired of recent.
Readers: There are a few things you need to realize. Medicare is the premium payer for all nursing homes. I would venture to guess Pine Crest does not have a 70% Medicare occupancy. If they did we would all be getting reductions in our property taxes. Medicare is good business for nursing homes.
I think the writer is saying Pinecrest has a 70% occupancy of Medicaid, the State program that helps the poor that have run out of assets. It has until recently been a losing proposition for any long term care provider. In the last budget the Evers administration has secured a record breaking increase in nursing home Medicaid reimbursement.
Sadly, private stand alone facilities such as Pinecrest have become less and less in our state and country. Facilities need a network of centers that have collaborative efforts in purchasing and economies of scale.
In the nursing home business you must have positive cash flow whether you are for profit or not for profit, except if you are government owned. In this case the tax payers foot the bill for nursing home losses. Not considered a huge problem in years past. But now county run or state run nursing homes are receiving backlash for these vast expenditures from the public in higher taxes.
All nursing homes in the country are held to extremely high standards by state and federal statute. Bad nursing homes are punished and good ones thrive.
Pinecrest can survive and flourish under different ownership. The government allows nothing less.
Even if the writer meant “Medicaid vs. Medicare” a 30% mix of other insurers such as Medicare, insurance, private pay, VA, is very good. Pinecrest should make a profit, however it just simply isn’t the case with private stand alones just not able to compete for many reasons.
I know Pinecrest is very beloved in especially the Merrill area. The taxpayers of Lincoln County simply cannot afford this. When I lived in Shawano County and this very issue came up it was soundly defeated by taxpayers and the nursing home was sold. It was a similar situation. I voted to sell the Shawano County Home.
Jim Torgerson, LNHA