Friday December 14, 2018
Commissioners should seek solutions instead of scapegoats.
I am outraged that the Berks County commissioners are planning to sell our county nursing home. But I am more outraged at the misinformation they are using as an excuse.
The justification they are using is that the Berks Heim workers refuse to take pay and benefit cuts.
The commissioners are claiming that there will be a deficit over the next 10 years that could total $18 million. However, their numbers are based on dubious assumptions, including overestimating the salary increases for employees and underestimating reimbursement rates from Medicaid.
A more accurate analysis of the available numbers shows a virtual elimination of the deficit for the next few years. In addition, using industry best practices and researching new options could make the Heim viable for another generation. But that would take a willingness to find real solutions and not just blame the dedicated workers.
Commissioners Mark C. Scott and Christian Y. Leinbach frequently have shown animosity toward working people, especially those who belong to unions. Their demeaning comments about the nurses, caregivers and support staff reveal the true motivation behind their efforts to corporatize the Heim.
There are many possibilities for balancing the Berks Heim budget, but it will take leadership and creativity from the current majority commissioners — something that is sorely lacking.
Good leadership could save Heim