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Berks Heim­ Nursing Home Nurses Speak to County Commissioners’ Assertion That it Would Cost Less Than $5 Annually to Prevent Sale

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2017 

READING, PA — Nurses from Berks Heim Nursing Home and concerned community members again spoke out against the sale of the county-owned nursing home at the County Commissioners’ meeting today, continuing to urge Commissioners to explore all options before proceeding with a sale.

One of the issues speakers addressed was an assertion made by Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt who responded to public requests to examine the financial impact if taxpayers were asked to help offset costs to keep the nursing home in county hands. According to the Reading Eagle, the findings stated, “Based on the current property tax rate, the ­owner of a property assessed at $200,000 pays an annual tax bill of $1,474. The figures show that same homeowner would have to pay $4.40 more in 2019 just to cover the cost of keeping the Heim in county hands. And by 2026, that same homeowner would pay $10.60 more.”

In response, Berks Heim workers held up five-dollar bills and signs reading, “Here’s a $5, Keep the Heim Alive!” Maryellen Nussbeutel, a licensed practical nurse at Berks Heim said in her testimony today, “Asking community residents to pay less than five dollars per year to care for their own loved ones is a small sacrifice in return for the benefits of keeping Berks Heim intact. Berks County seniors deserve to live their lives in a reliable care facility, and their families should not have to worry about their safety or the quality of care they are receiving.”

In addition to urging Commissioners to continue exploring alternative measures to prevent the sale, Berks Heim nurses presented them with stacks of additional petition signatures by workers and family members of residents. “The decision of this Commission reflects our community’s priorities,” continued Nussbeutel, “Our elderly residents deserve to be seen as more than just profit, and selling the home into private ownership would make them just that.”

For more info, contact Amelia Abromaitis at 215-219-4248; Amelia.Abromaitis@seiuhcpa.org

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SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest-growing union of nurses and healthcare workers, uniting nearly 45,000 nurses, professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and community- based services, and State facilities across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members are committed to improving the lives of health care workers` and ensuring quality care and healthy communities and for all Pennsylvanians.

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