Oct 27, 2015

The Cedarbrook Myth

It's funny that with one week to go before the election, candidates are now suddenly supporters of Cedarbrook. Understand, that as a registered independent, I don't get most mailings sent out to the party faithful. One mailing I did receive was from Dan Road Warrior Hartzell. As someone who has addressed the County Commissioners on Cedarbrook, I don't remember seeing Dan there. That's another funny thing, seeing some candidate attend a meeting or two for the first time, after they decide to run for the office. Dan also claims on his card that he used to cover the meetings for the Morning Call. I assume that he did, but I don't remember that, and I remember too much. Anyway, the only thing sadder than Dan's funny card, was the Republican Results Team card. The team, Holt, Osborne, Northstein and Mazziotti, also pledge their loyalty to Cedarbrook. Results Team is dedicated to contining Cedarbrook's mission of care and excellent services in a fiscally sustainable manner with a clear and measurable strategy. In reality, the record shows that they apparently never found a clear and measurable strategy, as they voted against every reasonable proposal to modernize and save Cedarbrook.

ADDENDUM: As often the case, I get a message from some candidate I criticized, asking if I would kindly phone them, so that they could more fully explain their position, which perhaps I misunderstood.  In the case of the Republican Results Team, allow me to elaborate on my condemnation.  When you decided against remodeling the D wing for a profitable rehabilitation unit, you demonstrated your lack of commitment to Cedarbrook.  When you stated that perhaps instead you should get even more studies, or build a new nursing home, you demonstrated just how disingenuous you are on the topic.  That said,  I will host any comment from any candidate.  

photograph by K Mary Hess

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't confuse us with the facts.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:51, as a long time advocate for cedarbrook, who has both addressed the commissioners and posted on this blog about the failure to move forward on cedarbrook, don't be confused by the mailers.

Anonymous said...

Dan Hartzell worked on several local government assignments during his long career at the Morning Call. I believe Lehigh County was one of them for a time. Dan was an excellent reporter back in the days when the Morning Call was a serious newspaper. He was thorough, impartial, and accurate. He actually took the necessary time to speak to involved people and try to understand what often were very complex issues before he wrote about them. He represented exactly what reporters were supposed to be when local newspapers were the watchdogs and conveyors of good information that many of us wish they were now. I can only hope that if Danny is elected, he will bring that same attitude and level of conscientiousness to Lehigh County government.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:58, as the Road Warrior,I felt that he was subservient to PennDot, to facilitate easy access to answer questions for his column. I took PennDot to task at a public comment meeting, and he declined to report my complaint, which was critical of PennDot.

that said, he will most likely receive my single vote, despite four openings, for county commissioner

Dreaming of Justice said...

You suggested Cedarbrook convert a wing or two towards rehabilitation (short term stays) to begin the long-overdue journey to positive cash flow. Indeed, that is the business model every single commercial nursing home has deployed for years. The grounds and interior have been immaculately kept, despite low staff count. Rehab could help Cedarbrook-a historic building and historic public health undertaking for it's time- sustain it's original goals of caring for the most aged and vulnerable.

Brad Osborne said...

Michael,

Recently the administration brought an ordinance to our board of commissioners requesting up to $300,000 to develop the planning documents, including preliminary engineering and operating costs, for both a renovated building and a new building. It proposes to eliminate the 4-bedded rooms with no bathroom and replace them with a maximum of two beds per room with a bathroom. The commissioners not only approved this ordinance a couple weeks ago, we helped put it together.

In full disclosure, though, despite this ordinance being brought forward by his own administration and approved by the board, the executive has publically stated he will not entertain the thought of a new facility.

I remain hopeful that after the election when the atmosphere is less charged, we will follow the ordinance through in its entirety. We're all committed to continue providing quality care with dignity to our elderly citizens now and in the future. We just now to put that commitment to action for our community. If a compromise of some sort is necessary to make this happen, let's explore that.

Brad Osborne

Tom Muller said...

Michael:
Roughly 18 months ago the consulting firm hired by the Lehigh County commissioners to determine the options for Cedarbrook issued their report. The Administration clearly stated that the preferred of the six options was to renovate and make other operational changes; to this date, the commissioners have not stated their preference. Instead, on three occasions they rejected the Administration's request for an engineering/architectural study.
Their approval on the fourth attempt recently was due to misunderstandings; the Administration's desire was to expand the study to determine if any future expansion of the facility could be done if the need were there. The commissioners--or at least those in a bloc--wanted the study to include the determination of size and efficiency of a completely new building. One doesn't ask an engineer or an architect to determine the size of a new building; that's a strategic call to be made by management and then followed by cost estimates, etc. just as a family decides how many bedrooms it wants before planning a new home.
Chairman Osborne understands the political implications of this issue and has chosen to ride the fence for almost two years, one of his running mates declared the last time he ran that "we don't need poor houses any more" and is suddenly talking about building a whole new facility and another running mate was quoted in this morning's paper as saying he was open to privatizing Cedarbrook.
As I've said publicly, if this were a private sector company, we would all be fired for our inaction on Cedarbrook over the past two years. It's time to move forward. If the commissioners really believe a new home--at a cost of $135,000 a bed--is worth pursuit, they need to state that firmly and determine how many beds it would include and they have all of the information needed to make that call.

michael molovinsky said...

i'll deviate from my normal protocol and not reply directly to mr. osborne or mr. muller. i believe that any interest by the commissioners in a new home is nothing more than a red herring, politically motivated, to delay making a decision on renovating cedarbrook. it certainly appears that the republican majority has no interest in bringing the home into the 21st century, (or even the mid 20th), but also doesn't want to suffer any political consequence from this decision. i agree with mr. muller that the inaction is appalling. again, comments are welcome from any candidate, or member of the administration.

Anonymous said...

Spare me the fake indignation from Mr. Muller.

The vote to look at both the build new or renovate options was 9-0. That's democrat and republican. The proposal includes not only the bed cost, but looking at the operational savings a new facility might offer over simply renovating an outdated facility.

Most counties who went through this same process ended up building new. Don't the current residents of Cedarbrook and of Lehigh County deserve a similar detailed analysis instead of just a rubber stamp of the executive's personal opinion? Don't you think the cost of rehabbing the existing facility will skyrocket once the walls are opened and God knows what is found inside?

As to the "misunderstanding" Muller had with his own Administration, perhaps if he actually attended Board meetings (he rarely does) he'd know what members of his own Administration and the Board are discussing.

Mr. Muller has been trying for two years to make this into a campaign issue, as Gracedale was in Northampton County. Unfortunately for Muller, his campaign manager (Mike Fleck) had to flee the county as a result of the FBI probe. Fleck was also the campaign manager for the four democrat candidates.

If you want Lehigh County to operate the same as Allentown, by all means vote for the Muller/Fleck candidates. Hopefully Lehigh County voters know better.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:19, although i chose not to respond to osborne and muller, your anonymous hit piece doesn't get the same treatment. i'm a conservative, who normally gravitates toward the republicans. however, as a life long lehigh county resident, i fully support cedarbrook. please note that the link in this current post goes back to my post of october 2014, when i was defending the rehab wing option. a year has passed, and the commissioners, under the republican majority, have done nothing. i need you to supply the name of the county which built a new nursing home, as you indicate in your comment, or i will delete it. i don't believe that the commissioners are sincere about that option, and unfortunately, am beginning to believe that they're not sincere in general.

Anonymous said...

I believe you only have to go as far as Berks county to find one that built new.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:48, berks county seems to have made a major commitment to it's facilities about every 25 years, as opposed to lehigh, which is two new buildings, and two remodelings behind.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the Road Warrior only makes left turns.