On behalf of the Maryland State Commission on Aging, I am writing to voice our concerns regarding the potential sale/privatization of the county-owned Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. We are particularly concerned about the future long-term severe and life-threatening consequences for the low-income elderly of Frederick County who need the care provided by Montevue.
Therefore, in view of the severity of the impact on the rapidly growing senior population in Frederick County, the commission is asking the Board of County Commissioners the following questions:
* How does the county plan to provide care for this low-income population in the future?
* Is the county prepared to fund 24/7 in-home care, which will certainly be more costly than Montevue?
* Is the county prepared to fund or subsidize care at the existing county private-pay assisted living facilities?
* Where will people live who are unable or unsafe to be alone with no home or family support and who need the daily care provided by assisted living?
Frederick County has no group (small, individual assisted living) homes as do other counties, due to Frederick County choosing not to develop group homes, nor to participate in that state program when it was offered. The funding for that program is closed and there is no plan to offer it in the future.
* Is the county willing to force our Frederick seniors prematurely into Medicaid-funded nursing homes (if indeed they meet the criteria for nursing home care) when all they require is assisted living care? This is certainly not in anyone’s best interest and it will certainly be much more costly to taxpayers.
It is our understanding that in October 2012, the board of trustees of the Citizens-Montevue facility was to be given 18 to 24 months to show progress toward financial self-sufficiency, so we question why there is now the rush to sell when it appears that there is progress toward that goal, well within the stated timeline.
We also question why the county is so eager to sell this CMS four-star-rated, high-quality care facility, at what appears to be a loss, to a three-star, mediocre care company. There is overwhelming countywide opposition to this sale with almost nonexistent support for it.
For as long as the Citizens and Montevue facilities have existed, with their excellent and caring staff, they have been a testament to the concern and moral obligation that the taxpayers of Frederick County willingly assume for the care of our needy older adults.
Since clearly the older adults of Frederick County, and the current and future residents of Citizens and Montevue, will not benefit from this sale, and the Board of County Commissioners stand to lose the good will of the community — we must question who will benefit!
LOUISE E. LYNCH
Maryland Commission on Aging