UPDATE: THURSDAY 1:30 P.M.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY –Over 30 people voiced their opinions about the proposed sale of Livingston County’s Certified Home Health Agency,CHHA,at the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday.
Lingering concerns were raised about the proposed sale of the Livingston County CHHA by over 30 residents and nurses of the county.
The Livingston County CHHA provides basic medical services to medically eligible homebound residents. Services include home health aide, medical social services, medical supplies, equipment and appliances, nursing, nutritional services, occupational and physical therapy and speech language pathology.
“To put it simply, the state has forced our hand,” said Ian Coyle, Livingston County Administrator.
The CHHA has been operated for more than 45 years but according to county officials, has the potential to benefit the county government, CHHA employees, and taxpayers without any loss in access to care or quality of care if the program is sold.
“Think longer and harder about the changes this will cause,” said Liz Porter, resident of Livingston County. “I implore the board to wait on the vote on the 28th.”
Livingston County has been discussing the future of its CHHA program since 2008 when New York State eliminated state aid.
County officials reassure that no CHHA workers will be out of work due to this transition. However residents as well as nurses that work for CHHA are not convinced.
“Livingston County Department of Health will lose their jobs,” said Dr. Arnold Matlin, Medical Consultant for the Livingston County Department of Health, but spoke Wednesday as a private citizen. “The Home Health Agency nurses all have seniority, but the support staff and Livingston county nurses with less seniority will be unemployed if we sell the Home Health Agency.”
Since 2005, seven counties within the region have sold or closed their CHHA’s. Those counties are Cayuga, Orleans, Genesee, Ontario, Steuben, Wyoming, and Yates. According to Coyle, the counties that have sold their CHHA programs have successfully partnered with new providers.
However opinions vary on the successfulness of the new partnerships.
“As a nurse that has called the agencies, I am on the phone a lot longer, I am begging for services, and praying for our patients health,” said Karen Johnson, Nursing Supervisor at Tri-County Family Medicine.
“Home health care is what we do, it’s all that we do,” said Lisa Greisler, Vice President for the Visiting Nursing Association, VNA.
Many concerns arose about not having a nurse on call that is within the area and being sent from Buffalo where VNA is located.
“We are not sending people from Buffalo, we are sending people from within the local branches,” said Greisler.
Though over 30 different people spoke during the public hearing Wednesday, the opinions were all the same, money versus quality health care does not make sense.