Report: Glendale Home lost $14.5M in 2011

County officials dispute accuracy of numbers

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
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The Glendale Home
The Glendale Home

— The county-owned Glendale Nursing Home operated at a loss of roughly $14.5 million in fiscal 2011, according to the results of an audit included in a municipal bond offering this month.

The amount lost was about $600,000 more than the nursing home was listed as losing for fiscal 2010 and was the largest loss recorded over a five-year period starting in 2007.

Expenses for the Glenville facility appeared to have dropped by about $2.2 million between 2007 and 2011, but it took in about $3.7 million less in total revenue, according to the report published this month by Munistat Services, the county's bond adviser.

County officials downplayed the report, claiming it doesn't accurately reflect the financial reality of Glendale, which they say is significantly better. But the county Legislature's lone Republican insists the figures included in the document are precise and indicative of the financial boondoggle posed by the nursing home.

“It is worse than I thought,” said James Buhrmaster, the Legislature's minority leader, after reading the report. “Our own people have said we have big numbers, but not this big.”

Buhrmaster said the losses further illustrate why the county shouldn't be in the nursing home business. He said the cost of providing 200 beds for county senior citizens isn't necessary, considering there are plenty of private companies where they can receive the same care.

“It would be understandable and even acceptable if we didn't have alternatives,” he said. “But we do.”

County spokesman Joe McQueen said the figure in the report is being taken out of context by critics of the nursing home. He acknowledged Glendale cost the county about $9.5 million last year, but said the $14.5 million figure cited in the report includes projections that aren't actual expenses.

“That's been pretty static,” he said of the nursing home's annual cost.

McQueen also refused to categorize the cost of operating Glendale as a loss. He said the nursing home reflects a commitment by the county to care for its elderly.

“We don't call it a loss; we call it an investment,” he said. “It's a decision by the county and by the Legislature to invest in this program.”

Buhrmaster sees it as a poor investment that is costing taxpayers when they can't afford the increases called for in the county budget.

He said taxpayers are being forced to cut back because of the economy and so should the county

“Why should the county be any different?” he said. “If our businesses and homeowners are struggling, we can't be doing business as usual.”

Meanwhile, the county's $44 million project to build a new, 200-bed nursing home continues to take shape on Hetcheltown Road. Steel framework for much of the structure has been erected in front of the old nursing home, and workers have started building several exterior walls.

The 18-month project is expected to wrap up sometime in late 2013, allowing crews to move forward with demolishing the old structure. McQueen said the new, energy-efficient facility will also bring a significant amount of savings to the county since it's replacing a patchwork of inefficient buildings, some dating back to the 1930s.

Buhrmaster wasn't convinced by this argument. He believes Glendale should be sold to a private operator, so taxpayers are no longer burdened with its operation.

“This [report] to me brings the point home clearer and clearer,” he said.

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December 25, 2012
11:04 p.m.
hodgkins.t says...

SELL IT !!! or lease it, just remove it from public operation. The quality of care will not decrease, and the taxpayers will not be subsidizing an inefficient taj elder hall at a time when they can not afford it.

December 26, 2012
6:55 a.m.
cfield says...

hodkins.t- but if we do as you suggest... think of all those high paying county jobs that will be lost with those lucrative pensions and benefit packages they receive. Think of that 14mil as our own little stimulus package for those select people.

December 26, 2012
8:44 a.m.
muggy says...

Thank God for the lone voice of sanity on the county legislature: Jim Buhrmaster.

County owned nursing homes are known boondoggles for the politically well-connected.
1- It's a sop to the unions.
2- Patronage abounds at county run nursing homes.
3- many of the residents/infirmed are politically connected to politicians, administrators, and other county employees.
4- county nursing homes have historically had customers who WON'T PAY their bills!

Privatize it. Stop the bleeding now.

December 26, 2012
10:45 a.m.
Toid says...

$14.5M loss for 200 patients - is costing taxpayers $72K per patient per year. If on average a patient spends 5 years in the facility - that is about $350K spent per patient on the tax payer's dime. Seems to me the private sector (as always) could operate much more efficiently, and if an "investment" is truly needed by the County, some sort of voucher system paid to private entities would be a much more efficient use of County resources. It would save taxpayers money and give patients a choice.

December 26, 2012
12:08 p.m.
sunflower says...

According to recent Gazette articles the budget of the County Library system was severely cut for 2013.

Where is the county's commitment to all the people helped and served by the library? These include all county residents from babies through senior citizens.

December 26, 2012
12:22 p.m.
safny says...

"County officials downplayed the report..." of course they did. There is no way that this can continue. Let the county officials sit down with various bidders who would take over the home and come up with a plan that includes the current employees and ways to insure that county residents can be taken in there. There are a number of other nursing homes in the county that will continue to take people who live here as patients. The economy is probably going to get better, but if taxes here continue to rise year after year people who can sell and get out will do so. Keeping the nursing home as county run is just speeding up the process of further flight and higher taxes.

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