To the Editor-
Must we really privatize the Portage County Health Care Center?
The facility is outdated, but quality of care is unparalleled. The future of this institution is in the hands of our Board of Supervisors, who must decide whether to slash the PCHCC budget.
The PCHCC is home to approximately 70 long term care residents, many funded by Medicaid. The PCHCC also provides rehabilitation services for approximately 23 temporary residents at any one time; many supported by Medicare, which pays at a higher level.
Unfortunately, the building needs updating or replacing to meet current standards. For example, restrooms are too small to accommodate wheelchairs. And we learned during the summer power outage that current emergency generators are inadequate.
In response to this challenge, officials have sent out a Request for Partnership, in search of organizations interested in collaborating on a solution.
In seeking that solution, I urge the supervisors to do more research before giving in to privatization. Please be sure you explore not only the benefits, but also the COSTS of privatizing to Portage County residents. Where else could Medicaid patients get this quality of care? Can any of us be absolutely sure WE will not need long term healthcare?
Having spent most of my summer in rehab at the PCHCC, recovering from a serious injury, I appreciate the importance of staff to patient ratio. I had excellent nursing care and great physical and occupational therapy. The PCHCC has a reputation for retaining good staff, and I saw how caring those staff can be.
Would I have received such good care in a for-profit facility? The profit has to come from somewhere—most likely from staffing. Moreover, if you stay not for 7 weeks, but 7 years, quality and continuity are even more important.
The Portage County Health Care Center is worth saving. Let’s urge our county supervisors to support the current high standard of not-for-profit healthcare into the future. Please don’t rush to slash that budget!
Please take the time to research not-for-profit alternatives. Find your supervisor at http://www.co.portage.wi.us/home/showdocument?id=7796. They meet Nov. 1! Let’s support our gem of healthcare.