By Ryan Costello,
Chester County Commissioner
More terrific news has emerged from the County Commissioners’ review of the services provided at Pocopson Home to Chester County residents, through our dedicated Pocopson Home employees and staff.
A major part of this review involved public input, and the public meeting process that was held during 2012. Ultimately, the sensible path forward has proven to be maintaining Pocopson as a county-operated nursing home.
Importantly, accompanying that decision has been a focus by the County Commissioners to create extra revenue, and undertake cost savings for Pocopson Home, all while not compromising the high quality of service to its residents.
To quantify the savings, in 2009, the cost of Pocopson Home to Chester County taxpayers was $3 million. This year’s budgeted cost is reduced to $1.4 million, with this expense largely attributable to indirect costs (ie., the shared cost of other county departments, such as Finance, Facilities, etc., being fractionally expensed to those other county departments that use such services), and depreciation on the physical assets (ie., the actual building). Improvements that have been implemented (at a much lower overall cost) include the establishment of electronic medical records and medical supply ordering which yielded higher quality supplies at significant cost savings; the development of an in-house clinic that decreased trips out of the facility; and the creation of a secure memory unit and palliative care program providing an in-house alternative to outside hospice agencies.
Earlier this year, the County Commissioners were presented with further proposed revenue enhancements and cost savings for Pocopson Home. It is estimated that, through the addition of 16 short-term rehabilitation beds, an income of $480,000 per year can be added after renovation expenses. And just this week, we approved a contract that allows a management company to oversee laundry services at Pocopson Home, and provide leadership support for housekeeping and maintenance – which will improve the quality of service and reduce our cost by $200,000 a year. These additional, anticipated savings are significant, and, I think, reflect favorably upon county leadership.
The result of the thorough review of Pocopson Home’s purpose as a county-owned facility is a great example of how questioning and fact finding, through a transparent process where we seek public input, can yield positive outcomes for all involved.