Congratulations to Chautauqua County Executive Gregory Edwards for fielding two solid bids from qualified buyers to purchase the county nursing home in Dunkirk.
And there is more: The residents of the home and their families can rest assured that the sale will bring an opportunity for the County Home to be run by an organization with a track record of providing better care than they already are receiving.
Bids from Absolut Care Facilities Management, which operates two nursing homes in Chautauqua County, and from Altitude Health Services, with nursing homes in other states, need to be vetted by the County Legislature. We do not know which will prove to be the best one, but we can right off the bat note the superior record of quality care provided by Absolut Care as compared with the County Home.
We are not saying the County Home gives a low quality of care. Rather it is that in measurements the New York Department of Health uses to help define quality of care, both of Absolut Care's locations here rank above the Chautauqua County Home in a significant number of categories. The categories reported range from residents losing their ability to move around and to care for themselves, to being in pain and losing weight.
Ranked head to head in 12 categories, Absolut Care of Dunkirk is the best of the three nursing homes in six categories, Absolut Care of Westfield is best in four, and the county nursing home is ranked best in two.
At the other end of the scale, the County Home is ranked the worst in seven categories, Absolut Care of Dunkirk is ranked the worst in two categories, and Absolut Care of Westfield the worst in three.
To complete the picture: The County Home ranks second in three categories. Absolut Care of Westfield ranks second in four, and Absolut Care of Dunkirk is second in five categories.
Clearly, the fear-mongering about nursing home residents suffering if the County Home is sold is as deplorable as it is false. The care they are getting under the county's ownership does not rank as the best in the county. It is just the most expensive for taxpayers, who are on the hook for the millions of dollars needed to subsidize the home's yearly deficit.
Our legislators now have before them a way to keep the nursing home open and to relieve taxpayers of that burden.
They need to get on with it.