The State of Alaska is proposing a funding change for Assisted Living facilities, which could devastate private operators.
That’s according Sherry Mettler, who operates the Soldotna Day Center. Mettler says she had to close a 16-bed and a 4-bed facility in Anchorage earlier this year as she anticipates a steep drop in funding.
Mettler: “Because all the rates are going down, and some of these rates are 12 and 14 years old, without increases, without anything that substantiates the cost of doing business and taking care of our seniors and our disabled. I think that’s very important that we look at that aspect of it.”
Mettler said the rates were based on audited financial statements which don’t reflect the true cost of operating. Cory Castagneto, one of the owners of Riverside Assisted Living in Soldotna, agreed. He said he’s purchased property in Kenai to build another center, but is now seriously reconsidering.
Last night, the Kenai City Council passed a resolution to formally oppose the change. Mayor Pat Porter and Kenai City Council Member Bob Molloy added language which further emphasized the importance of private enterprise…
Molloy: “Obviously there’s something wrong when you’re decreasing private facilities by 20 percent, but you’re increasing the State facility by 200 percent. There’s gotta’ be something wrong with the costs that they’re including in the calculations for each category.”
Molloy said he’s concerned the change will rob seniors of their options…
Molloy: “Because, as Ms. Mettler said, if there’s a huge increase in [funding] rates for the State and if those are the only facilities left, there’s a long waiting list, that means our seniors gotta’ look at other options out of state. And that’s really harmful to them and their families.”