The DeKalb County Board used more than an hour of its Committee of the Whole meeting last week to start discussing options in determining the fate of DeKalb County Nursing & Rehab Center (DCNRC) in responding to its financial crisis.
In my opinion, the board and administrator have acted responsibly and transparently from the moment DCRNC’s financial issues came to light nearly a year ago. Except for one thing: the board now appears to be trying to distance itself from the origins of the mess.
This might signal intent to sell the place. If so, it shouldn’t mean they get to erase responsibility by such a move. We’ve established the nursing facility’s current situation is not a recent phenomenon or attributable just to the pandemic, but actually a story of multi-year, multi-level neglect as demonstrated by inaction on staffing issues, management chaos, and fantasy budgets the board never should have approved.
Also, the county oversees other health and human service functions and we pick up the tab. It is entirely reasonable for us, who have placed trust in our representatives as stewards, to demand answers for the failures. We should furthermore expect lessons be pulled from these experiences to develop and implement policies and protocols to trigger interventions before situations get out of hand.
These goals are especially important to achieve with human services, where instability can lead to suffering. Nobody should be off the hook until we establish what comprises accountability and remedies.
Audio of the Feb. 9 Committee of the Whole meeting of the county board . The nursing facility discussion starts at 40:20.