Douglas County Eyes Cuts, Wants Healthcare Center to Stay Open

OMAHA (KPTM)- The future of a healthcare center has some people worried. Douglas County commissioners will vote on ways to save money, while keeping the healthcare center on 41st and Woolworth open.

They say the center probably won't close, but that's not enough to help employees and patients feel at ease.

Dennis Kaster does not have family. It's the staff at Douglas County's healthcare center he says is irreplaceable.

"This is where they give good care. I wouldn't want to be nowhere else." Kaster was paralyzed after a swimming accident when he was 16. The 63 year old has lived here ever since.

"I don't know what I'd do. I'd probably die." He worries about them losing their jobs if a private company takes over.

"If they have some outside source come in here, they don't know nothing about us residents. I wish they would just leave it just the way it is."

"It's way, way too early to even be saying people would lose their jobs, or the mix of the individuals we serve would change. We don't know," County Commissioner Mary Ann Boregeson.

Commissioner Borgeson stressed that the facility will not close. But the center's budget is the second largest in the county, right after law enforcement.

Taxpayer money contributes a million dollars a month to keep it open. There is a packet of recommendations the board will review next week. Closing, selling, outsourcing are just a few, but not all the options."

Some staff argued that outsourcing is just as bad as completely closing.

The county board will look at all the recommendations and make a decision Tuesday.