By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Centers Healthcare has advised the local Family Council it will scale back its April 1 increase in the “private payer” rate at its local nursing home (the former Focus) from $510 to $410 a day, Family Council chair Betsy Hayes has reported in an e-mail.
She said Aharon Lantzitsky, Centers division president, had just called her: “He wanted to assure me that Centers listened to our concerns and acted accordingly. I thanked him for listening to us and responding. I said the new fee seems a bit high but will wait to see what the community response is.”
According to a comparison prepared by her husband, Bill, who is secretary of the Family Council, Centers’ April 1 increase — from $300 to $510 a day — resulted in the highest “private payer” rates in the state, higher than even New York City and Long Island.
In an article in the May 24-25 Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta editions, Centers responded by saying the new rates includes a number of items — cable TV, for example — that are extra at most nursing homes.
“It’s still a 35 percent increase from what it had been, instead of 70 percent,” said Bill Hayes in a telephone interview a few minutes ago, “and it’s still unclear what the basis was for the originally increase or for this new figure. It certainly makes it appear more competitive with regional facilities’ rates, but it’s still higher.”
In talking to Lantzisky, Hayes said council members got the impression the rate as “negotiable,” and that the company expected prospective customers to “haggle” over the fee.
Betsy Hayes said the council will discuss Lantzitsky’s call and the new rate when it next meets, at 1 p.m. Monday, July 9. The federal government requires Family Councils in nursing homes that accept Medicaid payments.
Bill Hayes expressed appreciation that the Centers executive attended the last Family Council meeting. “There are still some difference between Upstate and downtown,” he said. “I think we understand him a little bit better; I hope he understands us a little bit better and has been successful in conveying our perspective to headquarters in The Bronx.”