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Lyco continues debate on moving ManorCare-JS patients

WILLIAMSPORT — Lycoming County commissioners on Thursday shared their thoughts on the possible transfer of patients from ManorCare Jersey Shore where a number of patients and personnel have been infected by coronavirus.

Commissioner Scott Metzger said state government should have taken care of the situation, which has included the deaths of more than 20 people at the nursing home.

The county has been asked by the Center for Independent Living North Central Pennsylvania for $250,000 to offset patient care for the residents. The plan calls for transferring some residents out of the nursing home to a hotel and would include Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars to cover lodging and meals.

CEO Dan Klingerman has agreed to cover any shortfall to ensure the plan.

But Metzger said he knows of no one who wants to be moved from the facility.

Rather, he has heard from a few family members of residents who don’t want them taken out of ManorCare.

“It’s unfortunate that people have died in that facility,” he said. “Things have drastically improved up there. That’s good news. That’s what everyone wants. It’s not a dire emergency like it was two months ago.”

Center of Independent Living officials have noted several people were looking to transfer from the facility.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said there has been a lot of misunderstanding about the issue, including the spending of $250,000.

“This is not a wholesale evacuation of the nursing home,” he said. “This is not moving patients who don’t want to be moved. It is allowing people who have a legal right to get their care outside of an institution. To exercise that right.”

It may involve moving out just two people, he noted.

Mirabito added that the county fulfills many spending requests.

“This is not some lark to take them to a hotel,” he said. The agency proposing this is licensed by the state. They are regulated. I think part of the problem is there is a lot of confusion.”

Commissioner Tony Mussare said the county does support many projects, not all of which are popular.

“I haven’t heard a public cry to remove people from ManorCare,” he said.

Jody Baney, director of programs, Center for Independent Living, asked the commissioners to consider meeting with agency officials to further discuss the issue.

“Is it the taxpayers’ responsibility? No. But do we have an ethical responsibility,” she said. “Even if it’s one life you save, it’s worth it.”

She said there is a real need to come up with a “game plan” to prevent another ManorCare situation from occurring.

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