Some Garrard nursing employees won't be insured

September 26, 2003|EMILY BURTON

LANCASTER - Company health Insurance will be dropped for some employees of Garrard County's Long Term Care Facility as part of the transition to new management policies of the facility's buyer, Care Centers.

In the face of the insurance cuts and what Care Centers personnel is calling other substantial changes, Long Term Care Facility board members reported Thursday that the management transition is progressing smoothly.

"We stand at the first two weeks of a transition that will transform this organization to the way it will look when Care Centers takes over," said LTCF board chairman Ed Montgomery. "... It is our desire and the desire of Care Centers that if you look at the facility one day before and one day after our closing, you wouldn't see a difference."

As part of the transition, certified nurse assistants will lose their company health insurance Tuesday.

"They can go out and buy their own (insurance) and get about what we can offer them," said Montgomery. "(Not offering insurance) really becomes a business strategy that a company can choose to endorse. ... The decision was ours only to the point that we decided to be managed by Care Centers."


Gary Parker, Garrard Long Term Care and Care Centers administrator, said spiraling premiums are the reason the company decided not to cover CNA's health insurance. Managers and licensed nurses will still be insured.

"Careful analysis of the market places in which we operated revealed that more than half the persons we were attempting to employ had health coverage through some other source," said Parker. "We decided to take the money we were spending for health insurance and spread it to enhanced wages."

Montgomery and board secretary Donna Powell said they sympathize with employees but saw the Care Centers takeover as a necessary move.

"This is better than the alternative - closing the doors," said Powell. "It's hard on us, knowing the people involved."

"If Care Centers management transforms this to a more economic business, we reap the benefits," said Montgomery.

"Efficient use of resources is absolutely essential to the future of the facility. Care Centers will develop and implement a number of systems and procedures, which will increase efficiency," said Parker.

"Change is always uncomfortable, change will always upset people," said Montgomery. "This is different than what we've been doing, and I'm sorry about that."

"Garrard County Long Term Care Facility has been going through a very critical period. It will not be easy to do all that must be done," said Parker. "But there is a very dedicated core group of individuals on the staff. This area is their home. These residents are their people. I am convinced they will bear the burden of change and will secure the facility's future."

Emily Burton can be reached at

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