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Reader: ‘We’ should buy Heritage Place

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Clarion’s current poll question, “Should the borough buy Heritage Place?” is poorly worded because whether or not the borough should buy Heritage Place is not the fundamental question we must answer. The question is in fact, “Should the borough manage the care of its most helpless residents?”

Currently the borough — that’s us — manages certain health care needs of area residents by means of Central Peninsula General Hospital. The borough owns CPGH, the building and its facilities, in order to serve area residents in need of hospital services. In like manner, Heritage Place, the building and its facilities, serves area residents in need of long-term nursing care.

Banner Health, the current manager of Heritage Place, is losing money because reimbursement rates have fallen behind increased costs. Should the borough purchase Heritage Place and manage it in conjunction with CPGH, new reimbursement rates would make Heritage Place a break-even or profitable facility.

The question before us as citizens of the borough is whether we should purchase Heritage Place, the building and its facilities, in order to provide long-term nursing care to those of us who need it. If the answer is “yes,” then we will buy the building in order to provide the service. If the answer is “no” and if there are no other buyers and if Banner decides to close the facility, then we lose long-term nursing care here in the Kenai-Soldotna area.

The borough — we — should acquire Heritage Place. This is not a question about money. This is a question of caring for the most helpless among us, keeping them among us, providing themand us too when and if the time should comewith nursing home care. This is not a question about money, this is a question about compassion.

John Nelson

Soldotna



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