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For the week of July 12 through July 18, 2000

Don’t abandon Blaine Manor

Blaine County should not abandon Blaine Manor—the county’s only nursing home.

Now that the county is on the verge of getting out of the business of running a public hospital, Commission Chair MaryAnn Mix seems to be looking to get the county out of operating its nursing home, too.

Neither St. Luke’s, which will be opening its new hospital here soon, nor the county wants the nursing home. They say it’s because they do not have the "expertise" to run it, but it’s really because nursing homes often lose money.

Blaine Manor is subsidized to the tune of $66,000 a year, or about $2,640 for each of its 25 residents. The amount is far from a budget-breaker.

Money made or lost should not be the sole determining factor for Blaine Manor. It’s an unreasonable standard. If making money were the standard for all government operations, the public would very soon see most government services vanish.

We do not demand that public schools take in more than they spend. We do not demand that street departments make money. We do not demand that county commissioners have bake sales to pay their own salaries. Why then, must we demand that money be made on the infirmities of the elderly or unfortunate?

Life carries with it certain obligations that don’t qualify as money makers. Raising kids is one. Taking care of people in the last stage of life is another.

Keeping elders close to their families will save local families time, money and heartache. It will enrich the end of life as nothing else can.

Blaine County should shoulder its burdens. If Blaine Manor is one of them, so be it.


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