Is The Push To Privatize A Chicagoland Nursing Home A Good Thing?

Winchester HouseIt’s no secret that privately operated, “for-profit” nursing homes tend to provide inferior care and have higher rates of deficiencies that their “non-profit” peers, yet a Chicagoland community is set to possibilily turn over the operation of a long-time nursing home to a private company.

Citing the financial burden of providing quality patient care within the standardized medicare reimbursement rates, Lake County has summoned a panel of experts to an advisory board to help determine if the county should shift operation of the long-standing Winchester House in Libertyville, IL to a private nursing home operator.

Advisory board chairman, Ric Olson seems to have made up his mind:

Based on these modes, combined with the overall volatility and uncertainly presently existing within the senior living environment, the advisory board believes that the most efficient and effective way to continue to provide skilled-nursing services is to solicit bids from the most qualified firms specializing in operating skilled-nursing facilities.

Opening its doors in 1847 Winchester House has the capacity to provide long-term care for up to 360 patients.  Like many nursing homes, Winchester House caters to patients with diverse medical needs.  Winchester provides: twenty-four hour skilled nursing care, intermediate care, a rehabilitation department, occupational and speech therapy and specialized care for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Certianly, I would think that the patients and their families should have a say in how this facility is operated.  Even though things don’t appear to be exactly perfect at Winchester House (see Medicare’s rating of the facility), I fear that once a this facility becomes privitized as is operated as a profitable entity care levels will diminish even further.

For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.


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