An unsettling circumstance is upon us. We are about to lose most of the nursing homes in our area because they are economically unviable ("State Approves Closure of Three Skilled Nursing Facilities," posted online Sept. 28).
I propose that this is because they are privately owned, in our case by one Schlomo Rechnitz, who is the founder and owner of Brius, which recently placed a two-page ad in the Times-Standard. His reasons for having to shut down the facilities in our area include that he would have to match the going wage for marijuana industry workers, which he cannot do because he must make a profit. He owns more than 80 such facilities in our state.
People, these facilities house our aging parents! And grandparents, spouses, aunts, uncles. How is it that our own people have become pawns in these poorly run, understaffed, wait-to-die places? This circumstance is not unlike that of the privately-run prisons in this country. The bottom line rules, and the care that confined people receive is the most likely item to be cut so that a profit can be made.
Capitalism is a mighty engine on which our society and culture are based. However, there are situations in which immoral human suffering is a consequence of the profit motive. I have no solution to this tragedy here, other than to take the long view and recommend that the law require that these kinds of facilities be run as nonprofits.
Kathryn Corbett, Eureka
The California Department of Public Health has a primary duty of protecting public health.
To grant permission to Rockport to displace nursing home residents far, far away from families and familiar services is a likely lethal abdication of duty. Experts on the local scene, including patients, family members, A1AA ombudsman services, etcetera have apparently been ignored by CDPH. It is quite obvious that closing three facilities in order to protect Rockport's profit-and-loss statement is no solution.
A number of advisable measures have been presented:
1) On-site training of staff paired with salary/benefits plans that will help retain the most capable employees will cost the corporation far less than the practice of depending upon top-dollar traveling professionals. (Paying $$$$$ to short-term travelers rather than $$ to good, dedicated employees has been Rockport's strategy. This proves to me that the company is playing us for some nefarious advantage.)
2) Closing one site (not three!) would bring the number of available beds more in line with current need without the major disruption and peril proposed by Rockport.
CDPH, please explain to us how you can justify rolling over for Rockport and outline the measures you will take to protect us and our loved ones.
Chip Sharpe, Bayside