Hundreds of people were expected to voice their opinions Tuesday evening about the future of a Frederick nursing home. Millions of dollars are at stake, as well as the well-being of the nursing home's residents.
Frederick County completely rebuilt the Montevue Assisted Living facility and adjoining Citizens Care and Rehab Center just last year, but now the county may sell the facilities to a private company.
"They're selling a facility that we just invested $38 million in for $30 million and throwing in seven-and-a-half acres of land for free," says Dylan Petrohilos.
Not only do opponents say it makes no financial sense, they fear privatizing will increase the rates and put indigent residents out.
"My fear is that the people here are going to be kicked out onto the streets," says Petrohilos.
"This is my home and my home might be so out from underneath me," says Patrila White, a resident. "Where will I go?"
"You can't go to sleep at night and wake up the next morning and wonder 'Where am I going to go? What am I going to do?' It's pathetic," says Juanita Stoner, a resident.
But proponents of the sale argue the contract with Aurora Health Management would have built-in protections: all employees would be kept on and residents would continue to be subsidized for the next four years. County-owned nursing homes, they say, are a thing of the past.
"They got out of the nursing home business over the years, all the counties have, because we don't know what we're doing, the private sector knows that they're doing," says Blaine Young, Board of Commissioners president.
Moreover, Young says the county has lost $53 million on the centers since 2000.
"We need to have compassion for all the taxpayers, not just for a select few," he says.