Last public hearing on Warren Haven nursing home held

Recommendations due before Christmas

Published: 1:02 PM EST Dec 06, 2013   Updated: 9:11 PM EST Dec 06, 2013

With less than three weeks remaining before its report to the Warren County Freeholders is due, the advisory committee looking for ways to stem the financial bleeding at Warren Haven, the county’s nursing home, held its last public meeting Friday.

About 25 people made it clear to the committee, as others had at previous public meetings, that they do not want control of the nursing home taken out of the hands of the county and turned over to a for-profit company.

They bolstered their concerns with anecdotal stories comparing the treatment family members received at other for-profit nursing homes, which they described as cold and uncaring, compared with what they said were superior services and a warm touch at Warren Haven, where staffers “bonded” with the residents.

Rosemary Adams, whose diabetic son suffers a host of medical problems and spent time in another nursing home, where he “barely saw a doctor … and was expected to die,” said Warren Haven was completely different.

“It was the best he felt in years,” she said. “He was cared for and loved. The care was the best I’ve ever seen.”

John Ronkowitz, of the Oxford Young at Heart Club, agreed Warren Haven is different.

“It doesn’t smell,” he said. “Other places do.”

Ronkowitz said for-profit nursing homes are staffed by “people who don’t care.”
“I implore you to keep it as it is,” he said.

Warren Haven has been running in the red for the last four or five years and the slide in revenue has only been accelerating since 2011, said Karen R. Kubert, an advisory board member who is director of Human Services for the county.

Cuts in Medicaid rates are among the biggest factors, she said. To make matters worse, the census at the 180-bed nursing home has been down to about 83 percent.

The county projects losses of $3 million to $3.5 million next year. It lost about $2.5 million in 2013, Kubert said.

Elaine Reichart, a county resident, said there is one thing the county might want to change. “I don’t think it’s being managed properly,” she said. “Why not lease out management for a couple years and see if they can bring down the deficit?”