Letters + Opinion » Mailbox

No Place for Profit



What's to be said of an individual or individuals who fail to take responsibility for the consequences of their greed and thirst for power? What's to be said of a community that's exposed to that fallout and fails to change the dynamic that promotes it?

The article, "Profit and Pain" (Nov. 17), on the shocking abuses rampant in local nursing homes, outlines just such a scenario. We don't know what mindset guided the birth of Mr. Rechnitz's mega-businesses, but as opportunities continued to present themselves for the endless aggrandizement of wealth and power, concern for the welfare of the nursing home residents has clearly fallen by the wayside.

If there is one place "profit" has no business (pun intended), it must be in the realm of healthcare. One is free to buy or not buy any product, whereas foregoing needed healthcare can come with a death sentence. Thus is a captive audience dragged into bankruptcy, homelessness and premature death due to the rapaciousness of those who would profit from selling and withholding medical intervention.

We don't have to accept this. We can stand up for fundamental change in the way healthcare is paid for by promoting and fighting for a universal, single-payer healthcare system. Such a system would categorically deny the parameters that have allowed, in fact supported, the obscene growth of the likes of Mr. Rechnitz's nursing homes' horrific deficiencies.

House Resolution 1976, the Health Care for All bill currently adding co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, would not only save the nation billions of dollars every year, but grant comprehensive, high-quality healthcare to all residents from cradle to grave. The heart-breaking neglect the institutionalized elders describe in "Profit and Pain" would never again come to pass.

For more information, go to pnhp.org and healthcareforall.org. Local contact: [email protected].

 Patty Harvey, Willow Creek


I remember reading the first expose of Mr. Shlomo Rechnitz's related-party nursing home grift in the North Coast Journal in 2016. It is not terribly surprising given the unfettered greed of these times, to discover that Rechnitz is not only carrying on his scam, but that he has greatly expanded it. And that voiceless, helpless people are still suffering and living in filth as a result of his greed.

As a former In-Home Supportive Services social worker, I've seen families struggle with care for their elders and, finally, out of necessity, give up because their loved ones need a level of care that can't be performed at home. For working class families, Medi-Cal and the nursing home is the only option.

I am 76 years old. Given the luck of the draw, in a week, a month or a year, it could be me in one of Rechnitz's dungeons. These are my sisters and brothers, friends and neighbors, enduring pain and conditions they are helpless to change. Many of us old folks who are struggling with inflation-gutted incomes and inadequate resources are just one accident away from this fate.

It's clear the odds are stacked against change. It would be interesting to compare, for example, the pay scale for attorneys like Mr. Tony Chicotel, employed by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, with what the attorneys working for Mr. Rechnitz and his various LLCs are paid. No, I think we can guess, it's not fair. But I don't believe there's nothing we can do.

So, how can we as still-independent citizens work to implement change? Are there any local groups working on solutions? How can I and others with like minds help?

Frances K. Ransley, Eureka

Add a comment