Blair County, PA: Healthcare workers from Valley View nursing home expressed disappointment, frustration, and sadness today when County Commissioners voted 2-1 to sell the home to a for-profit corporation.
“We have said from the beginning that we do not think that selling is in best interest of our residents or our community,” said Dawn Futrell, a nurse’s aide at the home. “And we still feel that way today. It’s incredibly disheartening.”
The workers had been fighting against privatization since October. They are concerned about negative changes seen at other county-owned homes that were sold, and want to preserve the quality care and quality jobs Blair County has come to trust at Valley View for decades.
In order to address the county’s financial concerns, they put together a proposal that would cut nearly $2 million from the home’s budget. They say they were willing to do whatever it takes to preserve Valley View for the 600+ residents that call it home, and are saddened that the commissioners never worked with them on implementing that proposal.
“We’re willing to make sacrifices – we are committed to this,” said Sharon Pope, CNA.” It makes us angry that Commissioners Tomasetti and Meling never offered to sit down with us and work with that proposal to preserve Valley View.”
“It was like their minds were made up, despite the outcry from the community, who has been telling them not to sell,” added Futrell. “Thousands of people signed a petition to save Valley View, there were dozens of letters to the editor, and it ultimately the wishes of the people fell on deaf ears.”
As for the future, workers say they remain dedicated to their residents, who they consider family.
“We will continue providing the absolute best care we can,” said Crystal Burgoon, LPN. “This whole fight has always been about them, and we’re going to keep giving them the absolute best care we can.”
Over 400 healthcare workers at Valley View are members of SEIU Healthcare PA.