The Chemung County Skilled Nursing Facility, located in downtown Elmira, is a healthcare facility owned and operated by Chemung County that provides long-term, inpatient, skilled nursing services to residents who have chronic, debilitating illnesses or require inpatient rehabilitation services.
With the capacity to employ approximately 300 people and house up to 200 patients, Chemung County’s Nursing Facility is an important part of the fabric of our community, as it provides critical societal benefits such as high quality, affordable healthcare and stable, well-paying jobs for healthcare professionals.
However, the Nursing Facility also unfortunately places a significant fiscal strain on Chemung County. As anyone who follows local government well understands, Chemung County has an extraordinarily tight budget. The combination of very serious and time-sensitive infrastructure needs for our municipal sewer system together with a yearly reliance on deficit spending that continues to diminish Chemung County’s reserves has resulted in all options – including outright privatization of the Nursing Facility or the creation of a public-private approach to its management – being placed on the table by Chemung County Executive Chris Moss as he evaluates what options we have for reducing county expenditures.
As explained below, the process of exploring whether Chemung County should privatize the Nursing Facility is already underway. It appears the Legislature will be provided with financial data, i.e. the costs associated with owning and operating the Nursing Facility along with the potential fiscal benefits a sale could bring, before any binding decisions are made.
However, financial data is just one piece of this analysis. The critical question is not simply how much the Nursing Facility costs, but whether we, as a community, feel those costs are outweighed by the societal benefits it provides back to Chemung County. In order to undertake this evaluation, we – and by that I mean all members of the community – need a mechanism through which we can identify and somehow attempt to quantify these benefits.(more…)