Ministry aims to hand over Koeru Care Center to Järva County municipalities
The Ministry of Social Affairs is aiming to hand over responsibility for the only state-owned care center in Koeru, Järva County to local municipalities. Järva Municipal Council has already agreed to the handover, while Türi Municipality prefers not to be involved.
Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform) said, that general care services have been run by municipalities rather than the state for almost 30 years. There are around 200 such facilities in Estonia, half of which are owned by the private sector and the rest by municipalities.
"Koeru is the only exception. In order for the local government, which is responsible for (providing) this service - in this case the municipalities together - to be able to organize things in a better and more convenient way, this is the approach we have been taking," said Riisalo.
The minister added, that a formal proposal has been made for the municipalities to take over the running of the care center.
Discussions are ongoing between the city of Paide and the Türi and Järva municipalities regarding a joint takeover of responsibility for the running of the care center. However, up to now, only the Järva Municipal Council has agreed to the proposed move.
"Koeru Care Center is one of the largest employers in the region, with about 120 employees. This is certainly one of the extremely important reasons why the local government wants to participate in this process," said Järva County Mayor Toomas Tammik (Center).
Koeru provides round-the-clock general care, as well as specialist and nursing care for 220 people. The center has a separate ward for people suffering from dementia. It also a dementia competence center, which the state has promised to continue funding.
However, according to Türi Municipality Mayor Kati Nõlvak (SDE), the municipality's response to the proposal is most likely to be negative, as many of its elderly citizens reside in the Käru and Väätsa care homes rather than in Koeru.
Those with special needs live in "Türi Home" (Turu Kodus), with the South Estonia Care Center also building a 100-bed general care home nearby.
"The development has been delayed for a while, but now there is a new impetus and I really hope that we will (now) get this general care home," said Nõlvak.
Riisalo did not explicitly say whether the state would help to fix the water pipes and heating system at Koeru Care Center before the handover takes place. However, the minister does hope to reach an agreement with the Järva County municipalities in the coming months.
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Editor: Michael Cole