July 12, 2012
TO THE EDITOR:
Regarding the county commissioners’ public hearing on transferring Taylor Extended Care Facility to Carteret General Hospital, according to statements at a board meeting by Commissioner Holt Faircloth, the hospital is losing money. Then why on earth would county commissioners even entertain the idea of transferring Taylor Extended Care to a management that is losing money?
Before the last commissioners meeting the agenda regarding Taylor Extended Care was going to be removed. (See articles in the News-Times.) Before this meeting took place, the Carteret General Hospital board, in its infinite wisdom, determined that Taylor Extended Care should be privatized, that it had lost $3.7 million, most likely over 20 years.
Taylor ECF had high occupancy rates for years, and it’s doubtful losses occurred in the first 10 years, meaning most of the losses occurred in the last four to five years.
Here are some facts: on Aug. 13, 2008, a decree from above said all nursing homes must have a sprinkler system by Aug. 13, 2012, but nothing happened at Taylor ECF.
Was the sprinkler system put out to bids? When? If yes, how much were the bids?
Was some asbestos abatement part of the bid process? If no, why no bids? Were grants available? How about the availability of stimulus funds? (See Carteret County stimulus allocations on the Internet. http://projects.propublica.org/recovery/locale/north-carolina/carteret)
In the meantime, Taylor ECF had approximately 70 residents in mid-2000. Rumors ran rampant after the requirement for sprinklers became known that Taylor ECF might become a prison … that the sprinkler system would cost a million dollars, etc.
Why and when did the hospital stop advertising Taylor ECF? Did the Carteret General Hospital staff continue referrals or were potential residents, given the rumors, steered to other facilities?
The real value of a facility is in its beds, in its certification of beds. The need for nursing home beds is determined by the state in a “certificate of need.” Taylor ECF has 104 beds.
Meanwhile, Taylor ECF continues to decline in the number of residents and the staff is living with uncertainty. Over the last four years most of the losses mentioned above have occurred. A lack of observable action to the needs of Taylor ECF led to the steady decline in residents.
Has the Nursing Home
Advisory Board been involved?
The hospital has not touted the losses and wants out of the nursing home business by Oct. 31, 2012.
• How much money did the emergency room at Carteret General lose?
• How much money did the birthing center lose?
• How much money did other hospital departments make?
• Does Carteret General make money in total?
• How much money is “saved” by getting patients out of hospital beds and into nursing and/or rehab centers?
• Why the sudden urge to move Taylor ECF to private management?
Based on Internet research of N.C. nursing homes and the current hospital board, this presents questions.
Enter Norman Randy Uzzell. He happens to be one of the largest nursing home providers in North Carolina and is a sitting member of the hospital board. His name is on several LLCs of other nursing homes and medical supply companies. Britthaven and several other nursing homes and rehab facilities are tied to Mr. Uzzell. He has been a heavy contributor in past statewide elections. There is much more information regarding Mr. Uzzell and his associated nursing homes on the Internet. Google Britthaven or Hillco or Principal Long Term Care or Colony Tire (Nags Head).
Rumors and scuttlebutt point to the fact that many decisions are discussed at popular restaurants over breakfast. If this is true, there is more transparency then and there than at public meetings. Is this just political cronyism? Connect the dots. Mr. Uzzell is connected to at least one commissioner.
All these actions are probably not illegal. They just leave many unanswered questions and do not pass the smell test.