Valley View Home employees have initiated an appeal for community support in convincing commissioners to retain ownership of the facility that cares for as many as 240 residents.
It's a request every Blair County resident should consider because the decision to be made by Blair County commissioners - to retain ownership or sell the facility - could someday hit home.
During the nearly 60 years that Valley View Home has been available, thousands of families and individuals have confronted the task of finding a nursing care facility.
The decision often surfaces during the later years of one's life. But sometimes it happens earlier in life, because of a medical condition or an accident that results in injuries, leading to the need for round-the-clock nursing care.
While Blair County has many private-care nursing facilities with varied admissions policies, Valley View Home is the one that has long been regarded as open to all applicants, with a wide range of care options to accommodate special needs.
While older residents will recall bygone years when the county home was referred to as the poor house and considered the option of last resort, the current facility doesn't deserve that kind of description. Valley View holds a four-star rating (with five-star being the highest) from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. And when Valley View has undergone unannounced inspections by the state Department of Health, it has done well, as reflected in reports posted on the state's website.
Commissioners admit to being worried about Valley View Home's financial future, and that concern seems realistic. In light of the changing health care industry and possible change in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, it's possible that operating Valley View will become financially difficult, with county taxpayers left to cover any shortfalls. But that's speculation.
Before commissioners are faced with what could be an attractive sales price for Valley View Home - and a decision to sell or not - we'd like to see some research and a long-range plan addressing the home's future. Such a plan could spell out the home's assets, future needs and options the county could pursue to shore up the home's future financial picture.
Blair County commissioners say that now is the time to consider selling the home, while it operates in the black. But if selling doesn't turn out to be a good option, what alternatives will they pursue next? Perhaps alternatives they should be pursing now?
Valley View Home has been an important part of our area for a long time, and this issue needs to attract every local resident's attention. What's at stake could be your future home.