letters to the editor December 31 to January 6
The CHHA is vital
If you need health care right in your own home, services are available through the Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA) at Sullivan County Public Health Services (PHS). If you have already received services from the CHHA, then you know how vital it is. The CHHA has provided home health care for many years—it is well known and well respected. Yet, the Sullivan County Legislature wants it transferred from county operation to a private company.
The CHHA and the Care Center at Sunset Lake are both in Resolution 289-20 authorizing transfer from the county to a Local Development Corporation (LDC) for possible sale/lease to a private company. It is concerning that the legislature passed this resolution without fully understanding what a CHHA is, how it operates, who it serves and how it brings in revenue. It is also concerning that the legislature has been pursuing a transfer of CHHA without a public hearing and without input from CHHA nurses, staff and patients. Additionally, how can the CHHA be transferred to the LDC when it has no title? Unlike the Care Center at Sunset Lake (a facility with a title), the CHHA is a service with three operating certificates from the NYS Department of Health.
CHHA is a lifeline for vulnerable county residents who need home care due to chronic illness, disability, or recovery from an illness/injury. A PHS nurse visits the home and sets up a care plan for skilled nursing including RN, OT, PT, social work, home health aide, etc. All county residents are helped regardless of ability to pay and including those who live in remote areas. CHHA nurses identify health issues and help to avoid poor outcomes, provide expert care for people with complex and complicated health issues, and help residents avoid going into the hospital or nursing home.
The legislature is pursuing the transfer of CHHA during the COVID-19 pandemic when home health care is more important than ever. CHHA nurses are dedicated to caring for county residents and there should be no interruption to the excellent services they provide.