Originally, I was very skeptical of the potential sale of Parkhouse, the county's senior care center. I like to make decisions based on facts. It took a great deal of careful study gathering evidence before I changed my mind. I am now convinced that the pending sale of the property to a private firm is the right move for the residents (current and future), the employees, and the taxpayer.
Mossie questions the transparency of the process, yet since the county first began exploring a new structure for Parkhouse in February there have been over twenty public meeting opportunities for comment, some of which she attended, not to mention letters, emails and phone calls to the commissioners. All of us are readily accessible.
The ground around Parkhouse was never designated open space by the county. It is county-owned land which has never been developed. As part of this sale process, the county is trying to preserve nearly one-third of the property as open space, but Upper Providence Township is resistant to subdividing the land to enable this preservation action.
To assuage another of Mossie's concerns, a committee did review the financial health of Mid-Atlantic as well as that of all the respondents in the process. Although a private company and therefore not required to publicly share its records, Mid-Atlantic did detail its fiscal health in its response and during follow-up questioning, and it is sound.
Mossie is also concerned the new owners will not care for Medicare/Medicaid patients, however, Mid-Atlantic currently operates five facilities in Philadelphia with a Medicare/Medicaid rate of 90 percent. That is higher than the 86 percent level currently at Parkhouse. I specifically asked this question of Mid-Atlantic executives, because I and the other commissioners share Mossie's concern. It turns out that Mid-Atlantic specializes in working with the most vulnerable of our society and that fact weighed heavily in their favor as a primary reason for the county's decision to select them.
Finally, our desire to complete the transaction by the end of the year is mainly an effort to ease end of year accounting for the county, and to make the transition easier for employees in terms of benefits, tax decisions, etc. If the transaction cannot be completed by the end of the year as a result of the normal process of negotiations, it will conclude early in 2014, and we will deal with it.
Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Commissioner, Montgomery County