Letter to the Editor: Dare resident shares letter sent to commissioners about home health and hospice proposal

Published 2:16 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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Dear Sirs,

I am a new country resident, happy to be here in Dare County and I seek to respectfully dialog with you regarding the purchase of the Dare County Home Healthcare agency. Below are my concerns and questions.

1. BrightSpring asserts that they will retain “substantially” every worker. When writing a contract, in this case a letter of intent, if someone feels the need to insert a qualifier such as “substantially” they are giving themselves legal room to operate in a manner contrary to the implied and inferred intent. Many of those concerned with this qualifier are those “people” to whom councilman Woodward referred.

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SOLUTION: Remove the term “substantially” from the letter of intent. It would be interesting to see how they would respond. In contrast, I believe Chesapeake’s clear pronouncement of 100% employment for a year and $3000 signing bonuses offers a more credible signal of 100% employment retention.

2. The comparison of selling a home for $300,000 vs. almost $3,000,000 is not a valid comparison. When you sell the house, you are done with it. The expenses, upkeep and any problems become the problem of the new owners. This is not the case when selling and contracting a health care agency. They may pay the $3,000,000, but we will still be impacted by the new “owners”.

A MORE APT COMPARISON: Renting. If you are renting out a room in your house, and someone offers you 10X the going market rate (average offerings), wouldn’t you be the least bit curious on how they are able to afford it, and why they would be willing to spend so much? Or would you just take the money and not think about it?

3. I have no reason to not believe that you all care for the residents needing the home health care. You all stated so. I personally have no reason to fear privatization of some government services. But I would caution you based upon my own experience having worked for National Medical Enterprises (NME) and Psychiatric Institutes of America (PIA), that for profit health organizations have different missions then non-profits, they have to because they are serving a different master.

It is my experience that for-profit health organizations provide adequate enough care, in order to pass accreditation inspections and efficiently bill insurance companies. Decisions about length of care, discharges and time investments will be constrained by corporate financial limits and will likely result in minimum required care in treatment planning and delivery. You must see this. I believe this is the only way that this company can pay seven to ten times the other offers. This is where we as residents will pay this company back. Our neighbors, the ones most in need of help will unfairly carry this burden.

Perhaps you have considered these three points, I cannot know. I would like to hear your responses to these three points. I do not question your integrity or service to our community, BUT I would like to know what inquiries you have conducted to satisfy these three concerns.

I await your reply,

George Haber
Southern Shores