Friday, May 3, 2013

Board: Public ill-informed about plan

Commissioners say misinformation about senior care should ‘cease’


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

    Blaine County commissioners expressed concern on Tuesday that members of the public are spreading misinformation about the nature and safety of a proposed senior-care facility in Bellevue.
    County commissioners are working with Safe Haven Health Care, a Pocatello-based company, to provide a way for patients at the Blaine Manor skilled-nursing facility in Hailey to transition to Safe Haven’s new skilled-nursing and assisted-living care facility in Bellevue.
    The decision to contract with Safe Haven was made after months of deliberation about the best way to provide for the county’s seniors. Not all members of the public supported the decision in favor of Safe Haven, and many have been vocal about the issue in the past month, launching petitions and writing letters to the Idaho Mountain Express.
    Commissioner Larry Schoen said a letter in the Wednesday, April 24, edition of the Idaho Mountain Express raised “legitimate questions” about the nature of the facility.
    The letter lists no fewer than 12 questions, many of which addressed the types of patients that would be housed in a “secure dementia unit” and whether the unit would pose a risk to the nearby Bellevue Elementary School.
    But Schoen—and Safe Haven CEO Scott Burpee, in a later letter to the editor—stated that the secure dementia unit is no longer part of the proposal.


“[But] there has been some misconception about what we are attempting to do here and what the outcome might be, and I think we need to represent that accurately.”
Jacob Greenberg
Blaine County commissioner


   “The answer is no, there won’t be those types of patients who pose those types of risks to the community at that location,” Schoen said.
    Commissioner Jacob Greenberg said a valley resident approached him and stated that he had heard there would be no skilled nursing provided at the new facility. Greenberg said he corrected the resident, but worried about other misconceptions locals might have.
    “[Provision of skilled nursing] is in the service agreement, and we are going to ensure that there are ways of enforcing that,” he said. “[But] there has been some misconception about what we are attempting to do here and what the outcome might be, and I think we need to represent that accurately.”
    County Administrator Derek Voss said the county needs to continue to communicate “well and globally” with the community as the process moves forward. Blaine County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves said he hopes to complete a final draft of the service agreement with Safe Haven this week, and it could come before the board in the near future.
    “Right now, my thought is to get a copy to Derek and Jacob, and at that point, they can tell me if I have completely whiffed or if it is ready to be consumed more broadly,” he said.
    Schoen said it’s time for the community to come on board with Safe Haven’s plan for a senior-care facility.
    “Really, we are moving forward with this,” he said. “It is time for the community to get behind this transition. It is time for some of the negative and untrue statements to cease so that we can build support for the best possible facility that we can. It is important that the community understand that the board is dedicated to moving forward with this.”




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