Missing toilet paper at Rock Haven might be the least of the nursing home’s problems.
Some Rock County Board members are questioning the facility’s business model and want to form a committee to further investigate.
We welcome the investigation, though we admit we didn’t see it coming.
Rock County spent nearly $12,800 dealing with a grievance involving a Rock Haven employee who allegedly stole toilet paper from the facility. She was fired but later given her job back after the county board reinstated her in June.
The reinstatement seemed to end the embarrassing ordeal, but now Supervisors Yuri Rashkin and Rick Richard want to dig deeper into Rock Haven, whose newest home was built in 2013.
Rashkin is looking to probe the nursing home’s procedures and culture, while Richard is asking why the county even operates it.
“I think it’s fair to ask the question, ‘Do we want to be in this business?’” Rashkin told The Gazette.
Rashkin raises a question worth contemplating, but we wish the county would have thought harder about this point in 2013. After all, it’s no secret that government- and privately-operated nursing homes face financial challenges. Today, Rock Haven is losing money, and so taxpayers are keeping it afloat.
Rock Haven’s financial struggles should be no surprise. Surely, the county board recognized in 2013 that compensation rates would likely fail to keep pace with expenses. Right?
If an incident involving toilet paper somehow leads the county board to conclude it should investigate getting out of the nursing home business, we have to wonder whether the county did its homework six years ago before deciding to spend $30 million to build a new nursing home.
It’s important to note that a study on the facility’s future was not called for by county administration but by Richard, who declined to tell a Gazette reporter why he thought a study is necessary.
Perhaps sensing potential panic among Rock Haven employees, Rock County Administrator Josh Smith offered reassurance last week. “Rock Haven has an important role in the community, and we have a lot of staff there. We’re trying not to make people nervous about something that is not at all a foregone conclusion,” he said.
Smith might be right.
Then again, it didn’t take much to shake some county board members' faith in this institution. Imagine what might happen if a more serious incident—say, the theft of bedspreads—were to occur.