It’s not too late to save Centre Crest. In 1937, a state law gathered up the resources that had been allocated for the poor into county institution districts. Land was purchased and Centre Crest was built. For more than 70 years, its 240 beds (approximately 70 percent Medicaid) have been a community safety net.
Now the Centre County commissioners have voted to turn these assets over to a nonprofit with no written assurance that care for those outliving their resources will continue. A private nonprofit corporation can charge as much as the public will bear with profits spent on its stated purpose.
When we circulated a petition in July, 95 percent of those we talked with wanted to keep Centre Crest county-owned. If the commissioners continue with this unpopular move, it is imperative that they develop a written transfer agreement that specifies the number of Medicaid beds and establishes limitations on how much taxpayer resources can be invested in the private nonprofit.
Presently they are talking $20 million. Any assurances are so much hot air unless put in writing. Transparency requires that the proposed bylaws of the corporation be presented to the public and approved by the commissioners. All regular meetings of the board should be open to the public.
You have time until the paperwork is finalized so please email, phone or drop in at Willowbank Building in Bellefonte and let the commissioners know your wishes. Please don’t abandon our tradition of nursing home care for those who need our help.