What we stand to lose if the county sells the Manor

I have touched on this previously, but I do not think anybody understands the impact. I heard that the Human Services Advisory Council realized the impact last night at their regular scheduled meeting.  I hear that Jack Surrency doesn’t even want to discuss it, even though the loss of funding will basically shutter the HSAC.

I received an anonymously mailed two-page report on PEER Grouping Guidelines for Services. This is helpful, because the county and state websites are silent on what PEER is and on what PEER does.

In a nutshell, PEER was adopted “as a means of providing a stable, predictable financial base for a home and community based long term care system.” The NJ State statute establishing PEER requires each participating county (that is – a county that has a county-run nursing home) to commit a portion of the net increased revenues from Medicaid reimbursements.

In the case of Cumberland Manor, there is a net of $800,000 per month in Medicaid funding. Of that, the Manor writes a check of $80,000 a month to the county treasurer. If the Manor is sold, this funding will be eliminated. The county will have to come up with another source for that roughly $960,000 a year.

Granted, these PEER funds have specific allowable uses. The main purpose of the funds, of course, is to provide services for “frail elderly people and/or people with disabilities who might otherwise require nursing home care.”  Funds may also be used for other programs as determined to a priority by the Human Services Advisory Council.  The Cumberland County HSAC is allocated about t $326,500 annually.

This funding, used for many programs such as Meals on Wheels would be obliterated. Bill Whelan thinks this is a good idea, apparently. So much so that he spearheaded a campaign, along with Magazzu before he was so indecently deposed, to sell the manor with as little public debate as possible. It seems we have thrown a kinks in the works.

I am still awaiting answers to many questions, the least of them not being what in the hell happened to the other half a million dollars in PEER money? Nobody in the county seems able, or willing to answer this question.

You see, the PEER program has certain restrictions on how that money can be spent. It cannot be used, for instance, “to replace other funding sources for existing programs and services.”  The money may be used for the following types of services:

Adult Day Care; Alternative Living Arrangements – Independent Living; Alternate Family Care or other residential services; Case Management – When employed specifically to achieve nursing home placement avoidance or delay; Companionship; Home Care Services; Home Delivered Meals; Home Health Care; Homemaker Assistance; Hospice; Medical Supplies and Pharmeceutical Supplies; medical Transportation; Personal Care; Respite Care.

ALL of these programs are at risk in Cumberland County if we lose the PEER money. I can attest to the necessity of Hospice with my father’s recent illness and death. There is no way the family could have provided the necessary care, and my father had no insurance to cover these sorts of things.

However, I still want to know what happened to the other half a million that could be used to further fund these necessary programs for a county that leads the state in poverty. These monies cannot be used in the general fund – and I have to wonder why the county is stalling in responding to my OPRA requests asking for this info? They delayed several days after receiving the requests in the mail to register them. I can only imagine the back room meetings taking place trying to figure out how to handle this one.


6 Responses to What we stand to lose if the county sells the Manor

  1. James says:

    Will you be attending the public meeting in support of the Cumberland Manor and taxpayers? Would enjoy watching certain people sweat when put on the “spot”.

  2. Go gettem snoop dog. Put there feet to the coals. We need moore people like you to get invovled and ask those important questions to the Director. Good luck.

  3. Calhoun says:

    Great job Carl on digging on the Manor and 911/time cards issues. It’s making a difference. Rather than focus on specifics (Carl has the covered), I am going to comment on the general big picture. Jack Hummel, with whom I frequently disagree, has a nice counter-point in his column today regarding the Manor. In general, I agree with Jack, except his loopy closing statement — “…maybe Gateway can take over the Cumberland Manor”! Al Kelly needs no more help building his profitable not-for-profit empire.

    Yes, we are in very tough economic times. However, we shouldn’t allow our politicians to continually use this as an excuse to cut back services and sell of county resources. Much of what they’re doing is one-time fixes and gimmickry that is still going to leave the County with yawning deficits in the future.

    This county has gone through tough times before in the early 1980s and the mid-late-1970s. And yes, belt tightening took place. But the Manor was never sold and the libraries weren’t shuttered.

    What the County needs is a detailed comparison of how it takes in and spends money today versus what took place in the early 1980s and mid-late 1970s. How much do we spend today on lawyers and consultants versus what was spent in previous decades? Every month the county has a lengthy bills paid list. How long was it previously and how much of this money really needs to be spent and how much of it is not needed but is spent because of politics? (Kirstein’s comment in today’s DJ article regarding a certain law firm possibly wanting the sale of the Manor to the CCIA is a good example.)

    Before county residents simply accede to Whelan & Co.’s government by firesale, we must ask why these drastic approaches on the backs of the most vulnerable are being taken when so many plums (right Brendan?) continue to be doled out every month.

    Bill, great job sticking it to the elderly, the libraries, the 4-Hers, the 9-5 employees of the county. Besides taking away health benefits from freeholders (only two of whom, Magazzu and Jannarone, received them and neither will be on future freeholder boards), when are you going to ask for a pound of flesh from the privileged in county government?

  4. I completely agree with Calhoun. I am consistently amazed on how much the lawyers and consultants make in good time and the current bad times. There seems always $$ for the vultures to make a quick buck. This is not Republican nor Democrat (I am a Dem) issue.
    Selling the Manor is a one-shot deal that will not help in the future. Its a one-time infusion in the budget and a way for the insiders to get more money off the backs of the taxpayers. I am sure the Republicans are on it too since they may control the Freeholder Board next year.
    I will ask the same question, When are you going to ask for a pound of flesh from the privileged in County Government??
    Its time to stop messing with the libraries, seniors and others who can not afford lawyers and flashy consultants.
    Great Job Carl. Anything I can do to help, I am there.

  5. Carl you talk about the other offices there that don’t belong there. The problem I see is if the current prosecutor would have held the Freeholder board on the terms of the lawsuit. Then they would be all under one roof,but no she caved in and will not be any better off. I can see she has no vision. So mean time we just keep paying our way as we go. We need people who have a plan.

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    […]What we stand to lose if the county sells the Manor « Louis N. Magazzu Watch[…]…

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