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ObamaCare puts Monmouth County’s nursing homes in peril

UPDATE: August, 27, Curley pulls nursing home sale resolution

Freeholder John Curley called this morning to say that he has pulled his resolution to sell the Monmouth County owned nursing homes from this week’s agenda. County CFO Craig Marshall is on vacation.  Curley wants Marshall available to address all of the financial concerns regarding the proposed sale. Curley expects to reintroduce the resolution in September.

 

Geraldine L Thompson Care CenterReductions in Medicaid payments for long term care under the Affordable Care Act have led to increasing deficits at Monmouth County’s two government owned nursing homes.

The John L. Montgomery Care Center in Freehold and the Geraldine L. Thompson Care Center in Wall are owned and operated by Monmouth County’s government. Property tax payers have been subsidizing the long term care of the elderly, disabled and infirm residing in these facilities for decades.  From 2007 through 2013 the cumulative deficit funded by Monmouth property tax payers was about $40 million.  Despite cost cutting measures and union givebacks, the combined deficit this year is on track to exceed $13 million plus the cost of repairs and capital improvements required to keep the facilities in compliance with state and federal regulations, due to cutbacks in the amount that Medicaid pays for patient care under ObamaCare.  98% of the patients at Montgomery and Thompson are insured by Medicaid.

Freeholder John Curley has been pushing his colleagues on the all Republican Board of Chosen Freeholders to sell the nursing homes for years.  Every time the issue gets traction or public attention, patients in wheelchairs  and staff members of the nursing facilities show up at Freeholder meetings and plead with the Freeholders not to sell the facilities.  The patients’ stories are heart wrenching. The declarations of love for their patients by the staff members are moving.

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Posted: August 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Freeholder, Gary Rich, John Curley, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County Health Department, Serena DiMaso, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Monmouth County Debt Rated AAA for the 16th consecutive year

Freehoder Deputy Director Gary Rich, left and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry

Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Rich and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry at the Italian American Festival in Ocean Township last week.

Monmouth County has received a new AAA bond rating from all three major rating agencies for the 16th consecutive year, according to a statement by the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders.

“This is the 16th straight year the County has been awarded AAA status from Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., liaison to the County’s Finance Department. “Monmouth County continues to be top-rated in how it manages taxpayer money.”

The three rating agencies rated the upcoming Monmouth County Improvement Authority’s (MCIA) governmental refunding bond series and reaffirmed the ratings of the County’s outstanding debt.

“Monmouth County continues its demonstration of sound, fiscal management. The County has been careful in its spending and continues to maintain low debt levels,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “As a result, we are able to have greater flexibility in delivering quality services to our residents. It shows how well the County is managing its resources and planning for the future.”

Monmouth County is the only county in New Jersey and one of less than three dozen counties in the nation that can claim to have received the highest score from all three rating agencies.  The AAA rating is higher than that of the State of New Jersey and the United States of America.

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Posted: August 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Gary Rich, Lillian Burry, Monmouth County, Serena DiMaso | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments »

Sunset Provisions: Keeping Laws Relevant

rich20photoBy Gary Rich, Sr, Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director

Late last month, Governor Christie signed into law Assembly bill 3424, which extended the two percent cap on binding interest arbitration awards. I was present when Governor Christie inked his name to this bill, extending the cap through December 31, 2017.

The law which originally set the two percent cap was enacted back in 2010 when the Governor joined with legislative leaders to implement these important reforms to a segment of the government system that desperately needed revamping. Historically, it was a system that had often run amok, awarding benefits to the public unions in question without regard for the town or county’s ability to pay for such benefits.

The 2010 law was historic and vital—and temporary. The original law included a Sunset clause, which allowed the law and its terms to expire as of April 1, 2014 if no action was taken by the legislature to extend it.

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Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Gary Rich, Monmouth County, Opinion | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Sunset Provisions: Keeping Laws Relevant