Thursday, June 3, 2021
In Carlisle, a classic college town in Central Pennsylvania, the hottest topic at the moment is, surprisingly enough, the "county" nursing home.
"Save Claremont" signs outnumbered the political signs in the recent primary election.
A robust advocacy movement seeks to prevent the sale of Claremont Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a publicly-administered facility with 282-beds to private enterprise. In a detailed story carried by local newspaper, The Patriot News, both sides of the issue are making their pitches:
The members of Citizens Saving Claremont are arguing the county not only can keep Claremont afloat, but with some effort, investment and leadership, they can make it thrive.
"It has been sustained for 192 years," said Tim Potts, one of the founding members of Citizens Saving Claremont. "This year, 2021, is the first year that we've had to use county money to support Claremont, and that's only on a temporary basis because of the impact of COVID." . . .
But that doesn't change the fact that Claremont is hemorrhaging money, Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said. Projections show it will only get worse and will have to be propped up by taxpayer dollars.
And the completion of a sales agreement could be just days away.
For some advocates, keeping the facility in public hands is about maintaining a commitment to citizens of all income levels, and they point out that Claremont's Medicare "star" rating has usually been higher than private enterprise nursing homes in the region. As recently as 2002, as many as 40 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties had "public homes"; but, currently just 21 remain in county hands.
For more see Citizens Group Pushes to Save Claremont, published online behind a paywall on June 1, 2021 and on the front page of the traditional newspaper format on June 4, 2021.