Kurt Carraher is a pharmacist in Spalding, Nebraska. He made the trip to Lincoln Tuesday to voice his concerns for the moratorium on beds in long term care facilities that was imposed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2009. It eventually led to the closing of Spalding's nursing home. "2 million dollars. That's the amount of income generated by our long term care facility in its final year of operation," said Carraher.
That's the economic impact of the Spalding nursing home that closed after the moratorium damaged the facility's future. Owners, because of the legislation, were given the right to sell the beds to more profitable areas of the state. That's the story facing other small town long term care facilities.
"And that's what's caused a hardship for some of our small towns particularly in District 41 but in other parts of rural Nebraska. Some are trying to look at that and see if we can help those facilities because in many situations those rural communities want to keep that long term care facility but the problem is they no longer have the licenses to beds," said State Senator Kate Sullivan who spoke at the public hearing.
Owners say some small town facilities were not full and selling the beds to an area where they would be used made more business sense. The results were, at times, emotional for the small town residents like those in Spalding.
"Local families are under extreme duress. They struggle to try to take care of mom and dad at home when they should be in a nursing home. Mom won't leave town. It's home. And where is the nursing home when you need it? It's been there for 50 years. People came to always count on it," said Carraher.
As a result of the public hearing Senator Sullivan's hope is that new legislation will be drafted for the next session in hopes of either lifting the moratorium or altering it in some way.